Thursday, May 17, 2007

Spring Allergy Symptoms in Children

Spring Allergy Symptoms in Children and What to Do About It

Spring has sprung and so has the pollen. Seasonal allergies affect millions of children each year. Find out the symptoms and what you can do to relieve them.

The substances that cause allergies are called allergens. Allergens can be anything from pollen to molds and fungi to dust. These allergens are carried through the air until they land on your child. Pollen is the reproductive spores of plants. Allergy symptoms can occur from the pollen of weeds, grasses, trees, and mold.

Sensitivity to these allergies is what brings on the histamine response. This is the body’s reaction to the allergens being present in the child’s system. Allergens enter the body through the mouth, the eyes, and the nasal passages. Your child may experience: sneezing, itchy, watery eyes, nasal congestion, chest congestion, coughing, and/or sore throat. A child suffering from allergies may display one or more of these symptoms at a time.

Allergies are often confused with colds and therefore misdiagnosed. Cold symptoms usually include fatigue, fever, and body aches. If any of these symptoms are also present, then your child is probably not suffering from seasonal allergies.

Pediatricians can run tests to find out the exact type of allergen your child is allergic to. Blood work can be done to ferret out the offending allergen. More commonly a skin-prick test is performed.

The spin-prick test is not painful to the child. It involves lightly scratching the skin with different types of allergens. This test is usually done on the back. If the skin becomes red and swollen in certain areas, the doctor can determine what allergen is attacking your child.

Once the allergen is identified, the doctor will come up with a course of treatment. Prescribing medication such as Singulair, Allegra, and Advair, will block the reactions in the body that cause allergy symptoms. It will take a week or two for the medications to fully circulate throughout the body.

There are practical things that you can do at home to safeguard against allergies. Keep windows closed. A good breeze will fill your home with pollen from the outside. Use the air conditioning in the spring and summer if it gets warm inside.

Take a bath at night during allergy season. The water will wash off any pollen spores and other allergens accumulated during the day. Also make sure to use allergen proof covers on mattresses and pillows.

Allergies are a nuisance, but they don’t have to ruin your life. Follow a few guidelines to keep your home safe from offending allergens. Take your child to the doctor to properly diagnose his/her allergy condition and receive treatment options.

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