When we talk about seasonal allergies, we are usually referring to those symptoms that recur during certain times of the year, particularly spring and fall. Tree pollens and grasses are common spring allergens and ragweed and molds are the culprits in the fall. This is contrast to people who have perennial allergies which cause symptoms year round from exposure to indoor allergens such as smoke, dust mites, pet dander and mold.
Symptoms are the same whether you have seasonal or perennial allergies. They include:
- stuffy or runny nose with clear drainage
- repeated sneezing
- itchy eyes and nose
- sore throat, throat clearing
- dry cough that is worse at night and in the morning
The best way to prevent these symptoms is to avoid the exposures.
- Try to keep windows closed to avoid exposure to outdoor allergens
- Limit outdoor activities if possible when pollen counts are the highest
- Take a bath daily before going to bed
- Get allergen-proof pillow and bedding covers to avoid exposure to dust mites, and wash linens often
- Try to keep as few stuffed animals in your child’s bedroom as possible
- Avoid carpeting, or vacuum often if you have carpet
- Resist the temptation to buy a certain pet if allergic
- Stop smoking, or avoid exposing your child to second hand smoke by smoking outside and wearing a topcoat that can be removed once inside the house
If avoidance is not possible or not enough, there are medications to help relieve the symptoms. You may try over-the counter medicines such as loratidine (brand name Claritin or Alavert) or cetirizine (brand name Zyrtec) for kids 2 and older. For itchy eyes, you can use Zaditor eyedrops starting at age 3. Prescription medication may be necessary if the above measures do not alleviate the symptoms.
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Silver Spring Pediatrics
Drs. DeConcini, Schooler, Zang, Wang, Yee & Marcus