It’s that time of year again. Time to get excited about warmer weather, greener grass, and fresh flowers. It’s time for all things outdoors …yardwork, sports, exercise, fresh air. As much as we at Joshi Pediatrics love and look forward to these things after a long winter (and coronavirus quarantine), sometimes our bodies don’t seem to enjoy them quite as much. Kids are very resilient and will play through allergy symptoms, but as parents, it is important to recognize when our kids might be suffering. Seasonal allergies, or hay fever, is a way our body responds to what it thinks are foreign substances such as pollen, dust, ragweed, mold, and much more. Our bodies overreact and release histamines causing sneezing, clear runny noses or congestion, red/itchy/watery eyes, coughing and often times, just miserableness! These can be easily recognized by their presentation at specific times of the year (spring/fall) or when directly exposed to specific triggers. Children who have never had allergy symptoms before can still be at risk for developing them so keep these kiddos on your radar as well.
There are many ways to treat allergies once they are identified. The first line of action is to reduce exposure. Stay indoors when pollen counts or allergens are high. When kids come in from playing outdoors, ensure they wash their hands and change clothes or shower. Eliminate dust and mold from the household (think changing out pillows, washing sheets/linens more frequently, vacuuming). Keeping windows closed and using air conditioning will also help limit exposure.
You’re probably thinking that one minute we tell you to get your kids outside and the next tell you to keep them indoors. We know it can definitely be hard to limit exposure, so if you are not able to do so or if doing so does not fully eliminate symptoms, anti-histamines or nasal steroids can also be used. Anti-histamines inhibit the release of histamines from the body in the presence of allergens. Nasal steroids decrease the inflammation in the nasal and sinus passages, allowing for relief of symptoms. If using these for your children, closely follow the directions on the box. They are most effective if used daily during allergy season. Regardless, never hesitate to contact our office with any questions or if you’re just not sure. The staff at Joshi Pediatrics is always ready to talk to you. We hope everyone can happily and healthily enjoy some nice weather in these upcoming months … we all deserve it!
Kelly White is a nurse practitioner at Crawfordsville Pediatric Center, 1901 Lafayette Ave. Suite 100, Crawfordsville. Reach her at 765-361-3086.