Spring has finally arrived—though it didn’t come alone. With it comes warmer temperatures, more insect activity, and more greenery blooming all around. Departing the cold, harsh winter months, it’s a welcome sight – for some of us.
For those suffering from allergic reactions, spring isn’t as sweet of a season. Due to Houston’s shorter, milder winters, our Texas flora and fauna bloom sooner in the year. With our high Gulf Coast humidity, we’re also prone to higher fungal exposure.
As adults, we’re used to the ups and downs of our seasonal allergies, but our children need better-informed parents to help manage symptoms and avoid allergy triggers. After all, nothing’s quite as pitiful as a child suffering from the inconsolable symptoms of seasonal allergies. In our blog post, we’ll give you some insights to help your children weather Houston’s notorious spring allergies.
Know Thy Allergen
An important part of solving a child’s allergy problem is identifying his or her allergy triggers. This is the first step for controlling allergens’ negative effects. Allergens, like oak, cedar, and ragweed, all operate the same way and can all create the same immunoresponse in your child.
But there’s a seasonality to each of these different plant species. By knowing the cause of your children’s allergies, you can know when their symptoms will become aggravated. For bloom-based allergens, the City of Houston’s Health Department has its pollen and mold count resource. There are also plenty of allergy apps out there that can help families mitigate allergy season.
Babies can develop allergies too though it is uncommon. Typically, a baby has to experience the seasons to develop an allergy to any specific allergens. This can occur after twelve to fifteen months of age. Unfortunately, you can’t just ask a baby about their symptoms. (Although that would sure make things easier, right?) You’ll want to be observant and watch for common allergy symptoms like itchy eyes, a stuffy nose, and wheezing.
Get It Clean
Take a look around your house. Think of the ways in which your child is exposed to allergens. An initial way to prevent exposure is to keep your house clear of debris. This means washing dishes, tidying the child’s playroom, and cleaning up any food crumbs. It’s a lot of work, that’s for sure…especially on top of everything you already have going on. But we think it’s totally worth it when you can keep your little one from coming down with the seasonal sniffles!
A tidier house means you’ll be able to see any dust, pollen, or pet hair accumulating on surfaces. You can remove dust mites, pollen, and pet hairs with frequent dusting and vacuuming. For better results, use a damp cloth for dusting and a High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter for your vacuum cleaner.
To suck up the airborne allergens even while you’re not home, consider investing in a commercial-grade air purifier designed for homes. In addition to removing allergens, a portable air purifier with an industrial HEPA filter can remove gas and control odor from volatile organic compounds like methane, benzene, and sewer gas. Selecting an air purifier with an adsorbent material like activated carbon will help to capture smaller particles and absorb gaseous contaminants in its pores, to be washed away later. Be sure to check back for another blog post, where we’ll do an in-depth discussion of some of the latest advances in residential air purifiers.
Since you’ve gone through all of this effort to keep your house free of allergens, you’ll want to make sure it stays that way. Keep windows closed as much as possible and avoid leaving your exterior doors open unnecessarily.
Reduce Allergen Exposure
Children want to play. Let them! No need to keep your kid inside the house. But when they re-enter the house, make sure they bathe and change their clothes. If you’d like to avoid the worst times for high pollen counts, keep your children indoors between 5:00 and 10:00 AM. Pollen and mold counts are also affected by the weather.
If you have pets, you’ll want to schedule regular bathings for them. Even if they’re inside pets, allergens can cling to their fur coats. In the spring, dust mites and pollen are more common due to increased temperature and humidity.
Lastly, your little tot’s cotton blanket or plush toys may also attract allergens, which is why it’s important to keep living spaces tidy and fabric-based toys washed regularly.
Treat the Symptoms
Controlling environmental factors can only go so far. If your son or daughter continues to suffer from allergic reactions, treat his or her symptoms. Schedule an appointment with a doctor who specializes in sinus and allergy issues. These medical professionals can evaluate your child’s condition and determine the right path forward for treatment. Their solutions can vary from something simple like over-the-counter medications to something more naturopathic like a neti pot to something more long-term like immunotherapy shots.
Despite what spring brings, be ready to tackle the runny nose, itchy eyes, congestion, coughing, or throat irritation that your child may encounter. Together, you and your children can learn how seasonal allergies affect them. Your child can still lead a full, active life while the springtime’s sun, sky, and flowers are out. Because why should the flowers have all the fun?
Is your child struggling with seasonal allergies? We’ve got plenty of options for you. Take back the outdoors (so you and your child can frolic among the bluebonnets). Discuss your child’s seasonal allergies with Dr. Pasha and his team. Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest for more updates!