Seasonal Allergies 101

The cold winter weather has finally passed and we’ve officially entered spring! While warmer weather means more trips to the park and time spent enjoying the outdoors, it also signals the onset of allergy season. Seasonal allergies can put a damper on your children’s day, which is why it’s important to know the causes, signs and treatment options to help them feel better. As always, you can count on Urgent Care for Children to have the information you need to help keep children healthy and happy! 

What exactly are seasonal allergies?

Seasonal allergies occur during certain times of the year when there is an increased amount of pollen and mold in the air. The body’s immune system releases chemicals into the bloodstream to fight off pollen and mold – also known as allergens – which in turn causes allergy symptoms. Allergy season varies from region to region and does not always correspond with changes in typical seasons like spring and fall.

What are some of the most common symptoms of allergies?

Symptoms can vary from person to person depending on the severity of their allergies, but some of the common signs include:

  • Sneezing
  • Itchy nose and/or throat
  • Congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Coughing
  • Itchy/irritated eyes

 Some children may also experience eczema, or atopic dermatitis, which is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that appears as an itchy rash.

At what age do children typically begin to experience allergies?  

Children can begin to experience seasonal allergies as young as two-years old, though most symptoms do not occur until early school years. Seasonal allergies typically develop by the age of 10 and reach their peak in the early 20s.

How can you distinguish a cold from allergies?

A case of seasonal allergies and the common cold may share similar symptoms, but the two ailments are quite different. Itchy and irritated eyes, persistent sneezing and a runny nose are the telltale signs of allergies, while fever, sore throat and body aches are indicative of a cold. Additionally, colds are caused by a virus whereas seasonal allergies are caused by pollen, mold and other environmental factors. This means that colds are contagious but will go away within a week or so. Allergies, on the other hand, cannot be spread from person to person but last much longer.

What can you do to treat your kids’ allergies?

The first step in treating your children’s seasonal allergies is determining the cause of their symptoms. Try to avoid extended time outdoors and keep windows closed during peak pollen and mold seasons. You should also wash your kids’ clothes more regularly if they’ve been playing outside to decrease the chance of allergens entering the home. Medications can help relieve certain allergy symptoms but should only be used under the guidance of a pediatrician or physician.

 Seasonal allergies are no fun for anyone, but with the right treatments and information, they can be managed throughout the year. If your child is experiencing allergy symptoms and in need of relief, book an appointment online and visit your local Urgent Care for Children!