Allergic reactions occur when the body’s immune system reacts after inhalation or contact with a substance, consuming a specific type of food or beverage, or from medications. Common environmental allergens that can cause allergic reactions include dust mites, pet dander, insect stings, mold, pollen, and more.
Pollen is one of the most common allergens that trigger allergies. Most of the pollen that causes allergic reactions comes from trees, grasses, and weeds, which produce tiny, light, dry pollen grains that are distributed in the wind. Airborne pollen gets trapped inside the nasal and oral passages and triggers a type of seasonal allergic rhinitis called pollen allergy, otherwise known as hay fever.
|Nasal congestion||Watery, itchy eyes|
- Keep your home as dry as you can. Humid homes tend to accumulate dust mites and mold.
- Don’t use a humidifier unless you carefully follow the cleaning instructions. If the air in your home seems too dry, over-the-counter saline nasal spray can help to keep your child’s sinuses moist.
- If your basement is damp or moldy, run a dehumidifier and empty it frequently.
- HEPA (High Efficiency Particle Arrester) air filters can help to absorb most particles floating in the air.
- Wood burning stoves and fireplaces fill the air with small particles that can irritate the lungs. We do not recommend using these devices, unless you can adequately ensure good air circulation.
- Create a barrier between your child and any dust mites. Dust mite covers completely enclose the pillow and mattress, trapping the microscopic mites in the bedding where they can no longer trigger an allergic reaction. These covers can be purchased at any bed linen store or general discount store. Use hypo-allergic pillows, and blankets/comforters, no feather or wool.
- Bedding and stuffed animals should be washed in hot water (at least 130 degrees) once a week.
- Ideally, pets should be kept out of carpeted rooms. If pets are allowed in the carpeted areas of the home, try to keep them off of beds and upholstered furniture. Pet dander is difficult to remove from carpeting and furniture. Wash your pet at least every other week to minimize dander. Vacuum carpeted areas regularly.
- Keep all food sealed tightly, including pet food.
- Empty the trash frequently and use traps if you suspect you might have cockroaches or other insects in the home.
- Keep your child indoors when the pollen count is at its highest levels in the early morning and late evening.
- Keep the windows closed in your home and car, using air conditioners when possible. Air conditioning recirculates indoor air, instead of outside air which carries pollen.
- Do not hang your laundry outside to dry. Pollen collects on the clothing/sheets and increases pollen exposure inside your home.
- If your child spends time playing outside, wash their hair before they go to sleep and change their clothing. Pollen settles on the scalp/hair and may collect on pillowcases making them more susceptible to an allergic reaction.
If your child is suffering from classic hay fever symptoms, please call to make an appointment. Various treatment options your provider may suggest include:
- Oral anti-histamine (Claritin® (Loratadine), Zyrtec® (Cetirzine), Allegra®, or Benadryl®)
- Nasal anti-histamines (Patanase®)
- Nasal corticosteroids (Flonase®, Nasonex®, etc.)
- Leukotriene inhibitors (Singulair)
Those with uncontrollable allergy symptoms may be referred to an allergist, or another healthcare professional who can detect your child’s reaction to various allergens. Severe reactions are rare, but if you suspect your child is having a severe allergic reaction, use an adrenaline auto-injector pen (if available) and call 911 immediately.
Call 911 if your child has any of the following symptoms:
- Trouble breathing, wheezing
- Pale face, blue lips or earlobes
- Rapid swelling of the tongue or throat
- Feeling faint or lightheaded
- Clammy, cool skin, or profuse sweating