Sneezing, coughing, puffy eyes and an itchy nose – the hallmark signs of allergy season – can be miserable. As a parent, it’s even worse to see your child suffer from allergies.
Although allergies can’t be cured, parents and doctors can take steps to reduce symptoms and help children feel better, says Steven Rubinstein, M.D., a pediatric allergy and immunology specialist at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation.
“Seasonal allergies are typically caused by plant pollen, and different plants release pollen at different times of the year,” he says. “This means that the worst season for a child who suffers from allergies will depend on what plant pollen causes his or her allergies.”
Knowing your child’s trigger season can help you prepare in advance, so you can minimize allergy symptoms. Dr. Rubinstein offers these simple measures to help reduce the likelihood of your child experiencing an allergy attack:
- Have your child bathe or shower before going to bed and make sure he or she is wearing clean pajamas (not clothes worn outside or around the house). This removes the pollen that may have landed on a child’s body and clothes during the day.
- Encourage your child to wash his or her hands when coming in from outside to rinse off any pollen.
- Cover your child’s bed pillows with allergy-proof liners that go between your pillow and the regular pillow cover. During allergy season, common year-round allergens like the dust mites found in all bedding can make symptoms worse. A pillow liner will help reduce added irritation from dust mites.
- Wash bed linens every week, and other bedding such as blankets every two to three weeks in hot water to kill dust mites.
- Avoid fabric couch pillows that can harbor allergens and dust mites. Choose leather or vinyl pillows instead and periodically wipe these down with a damp cloth.
- Keep windows closed from sunrise to mid-morning as pollen levels peak in the morning. Also, keep windows closed if it is or has been windy.
- While driving, keep car windows up and use the recycle air setting so that pollen stays out of the car.