This winter, Southern California has had more rainfall than we have seen in recent years. Due to the abnormally cold and wet winter, we predict a longer spring and higher pollination levels. This means an extended allergy season. For those who already suffer from allergies, symptoms could worsen and last longer, and those who may not typically have allergies could feel a little extra tickle in their throat.
It's important for parents to be aware of allergy signs in children, even if your children haven’t presented with allergies in the past. Pollen allergies are among the most common allergies in children, with symptoms arising between the ages of 2-5 and peaking in school age children, teens, and young adults. Some symptoms of seasonal allergies include a stuffy nose, sneezing, itchy eyes, sore throat, and coughing. These allergies can be more than just a nuisance if your child experiences the more serious symptoms, such as:
- Fatigue and poor concentration in school due to lack of sleep
- Increase in ear and sinus infections
- Asthma exacerbation
- Behavioral issues from discomfort or lack of sleep
It can be impossible to avoid the spread of tree and flower pollen when your child is outdoors, there are things you can do inside your home to help reduce allergy triggers, and in turn reduce symptoms.
- Wash your child’s bedding once a week to reduce dust mites and eliminate any pollen children may have inadvertently carried into the bed with them which can aggravate allergies.
- A nighttime bed routine that encourages washing all outdoor allergens off clothes, hair and body can ensure you child can breathe easier at night.
- While cleaning your home, avoid using products with chemicals or propellants to keep your children from developing further irritation or inflammation in their respiratory system. If you must use spray products, make sure to spray into a towel instead of directly onto the surface to contain the product. There are a list of ways you can “green clean” your home, eliminating chemicals and still leaving your home feeling clean and comfortable.
- Vacuum at least once a week and keep your home clutter free to reduce dust mites. This is especially important if your child is at risk of a severe allergic reaction.
- Prevent pet dander by keeping your pet as clean as possible. There are also many breeds of dogs or cats that are considered hypoallergenic.
While it is impossible to eliminate all allergens from entering the home, we can do our best to keep them at bay. Should your child experience severe allergies or you would like your child to have a consultation, contact the Children’s Pulmonary Institute at MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach. Our team of specialized pediatric pulmonologists and allergists/immunologists treat common and rare complex diseases affecting the respiratory and immune systems, such as asthma, allergies, primary ciliary dyskinesia and cystic fibrosis.