It’s almost time to pull out your shorts and tank tops! Unfortunately, that means it’s almost time for some families to pull out the tissues and allergy medicines, too.
If your child is dreading spring weather because of seasonal allergies, it may be worth scheduling an appointment with an allergist so they can live a more enjoyable day-to-day lifestyle.
“Ultimately we want kids to be kids, and for them to do the things they would normally like to do, without allergies holding them back,” says Dr. Gregory Bennett, an allergist at Charleston ENT and Allergy.
As spring quickly approaches, here are 8 things every parent should know about seasonal allergies:
1. What to watch (and listen) for. Many children suffer from seasonal allergic rhinitis, which is also known as hay fever or seasonal pollen allergies. The common symptoms seen in kids with rhinitis are sneezing, coughing, congestion, postnasal drip and itchy, red or watery eyes during certain times of the year.
2. The Fearsome Four. Dr. Bennett explains the fearsome four as some of the most common triggers of seasonal allergies, which includes: trees, grasses, weeds and molds. If you think your child suffers from the fearsome four, schedule an appointment with an allergist.
3. Spring has SPRUNG. Spring allergies can begin as early as February and can last until early summer here in the Lowcountry. Trees and grasses are the most common culprits in the spring, but a rainy season can also promote plant growth and lead to an increase in molds in the environment.
4. Know your triggers. An allergist can help you find the cause of your child’s suffering in order to manage symptoms and, oftentimes, help cure your child’s allergies. While parents may have strong assumptions about what their kids are allergic to, the only way to truly determine allergies is having an allergist perform a skin or blood test. Both tests are effective, and an allergist can help to determine which would be the best fit for determining your child’s allergies.
“The convenience of a blood test is that patients don’t have to stop taking an antihistamine to get accurate results. But, you can also get skin testing results the same day, which a lot of parents seem to prefer,” says Dr. Bennett.
5. Avoidance. You may want to consider monitoring pollen and mold counts via weather reports. It’s also a good idea to keep your windows and doors closed at home and in your automobile during peak allergy season. Your children should also shower, wash their hair and change their clothes after playing outdoors; this will help eliminate continued exposure to allergens. These tips, along with other strategies your allergist may suggest, will help reduce seasonal allergy symptoms.
6. Is there a pill for this? If your child suffers from mild to severe seasonal allergies, you’ve likely tried a number of over-the-counter medicines to help reduce symptoms. Your allergist may recommend one or more medications to help control symptoms; this includes nasal sprays, oral pills and eye drops.
“Despite the fact that many allergy medicines are offered over-the-counter, it’s recommended to consult with a physician prior to taking,” says Dr. Bennett.
7. The cure for what ails you. One of the most effective ways to treat seasonal allergies is via immunotherapy. This treatment is available by taking a series of allergy drops beneath your tongue daily, or by getting allergy shots every few weeks. Both of these therapies expose you over time to gradually increasing amounts of your allergen so that your immune system learns to tolerate it rather than causing bothersome allergy symptoms.
8. Get help now! Be sure to contact your allergist prior to the start of spring pollen season. If indicated, taking appropriate medications or immunotherapy prior to known exposures can help to reduce those pesky allergy symptoms!
All 12 Charleston ENT & Allergy clinics accept evaluation appointments for children’s allergies. For more information or to schedule an appointment with Charleston ENT & Allergy, call 843-766-7103 or visit CharlestonENT.com.