Ask the Pediatrician

Will allergies for children be severe this spring after the rainfall?

Although we really needed the rain, the growing grasses and trees did bring more pollen and more springtime allergies. Allergic kids will have more itchy and runny noses and eyes, sneezing, nose rubbing, and coughing-all symptoms of allergic rhinitis (aka hay fever). Nasal allergies not only make kids feel miserable but they interfere with school (it’s hard to concentrate when congested and itchy). They also increase infections like sinusitis and lead to asthma attacks.

Don’t wait until your child is miserable. If he or she needed allergy medication last spring, consider starting as soon as possible to prevent symptoms. First, use nasal saline spray daily and have your child blow (if possible) to help flush pollen, irritants, and mucus out of the nose. Your pediatrician may also recommend steroid nasal spray.

For quick relief, an antihistamine will help. Or give it an hour before exposure, like going to soccer practice outside. Use non-sedating meds (like Claritin, Allegra, Zyrtec) as they won’t cause sleepiness.

Prevent spring allergy triggers by having kids stay inside during early morning hours when pollen counts are highest. For example, have them exercise after school not before. Keep windows closed. Bathe kids after school to remove pollens and/ or wash their hair at night so they’re not sleeping with pollen. Shield eyes from pollens with sunglasses and keep hair pulled back under a hat. Also, wash pets so pollens aren’t tracked into the house. Don’t let allergies interfere with life. With prevention and treatment, children can run, play, sleep soundly, succeed in school, and enjoy springtime.

Tanya Altmann, MD, FAAP, is the founder of Calabasas Pediatrics. She’s also a best-selling parenting book author and assistant clin­ical professor at Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA.

Calabasas Pediatrics by Dr. Tanya
Tanya Altmann, MD, FAAP
23480 Park Sorrento, #109A