Spring is over and fall is almost here do I still need to worry about allergies with my childrens? This is a question that most parents ask to their family physician. The answer is simple YES; you do need to worry about your children’s allergies even in the fall. Fall session can be very challenging for allergies.
COMMON FALL ALLERGENS
Ragweed, a yellow flowering weed, typically begins to pollinate in mid-August and can linger well into the fall months. Many children who are allergic to spring pollen plants are also allergic to ragweed. Even if ragweed doesn’t grow in your neighborhood, it travels very easily on wind currents.
Mold and dust are also big culprits when the weather starts to change in the fall. Damp fallen leaves in yards and streets are breeding grounds for mold, while dust becomes airborne as people start to use heaters and furnaces for the colder months.
All of these allergens can get into the nasal passages, and trigger allergy symptoms consistent with sneezing, congestion, and runny nose in your child.
REDUCING YOUR CHILD’S ALLERGY SYMPTOMS
*Avoid being outside in the early morning, when ragweed pollen counts are the highest
*At home, use pillow and mattress encasings to keep dust mites away from your child’s nasal passages. Dust mites are tiny insects that are invisible to the naked eye and live in peoples’ home in mattresses, pillows, carpets, upholstered furniture, bedcovers, clothes, stuffed toys, fabric, and fabric-covered items. They are the main component of dust allergy. Washing bedding in hot water weekly and minimizing your child’s exposure to carpeted areas are helpful in decreasing exposure to dust mites as well.
*Allergy medications also help greatly and are available both over the counter and with a prescription. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration have approved many effective antihistamines for children over the age of two. These medications typically last 24 hours and most are nonsedating. Side effects are very minimal but can include dry mouth, dry nose, and dry eyes.
*If your child’s allergy symptoms don’t respond to medications, it makes sense to visit an allergist for skin testing to discover the exact allergy trigger. Your allergist can also advise whether your child would benefit from allergy shots, which offer the potential of a permanent cure.
ALLERGIES VS. THE COMMON COLD
Although symptoms vary, it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between allergies and the common cold. One difference is that there is typically no fever with allergies. Another is that allergy symptoms often linger, like a cold that never goes away.