Seasonal allergy relief for children

Is your child looking forward to good weather to play outside? Don’t let seasonal allergies get in the way of outdoor activities!

Seasonal allergies: what are they about?

The number of people who have seasonal allergies has gone up significantly in the past few decades, and young children are no exception! Seasonal allergies are a common reason for people to consult a pharmacist and ask for advice. They develop in reaction to air-borne allergens, such as pollen.

When your child comes into contact with this type of agent, the immune system defends itself by releasing very specific antibodies called immunoglobulin E (or IgE). Immunoglobulin E stimulates certain cells that release large amounts of a chemical called “histamine” in the blood. It is the presence of histamine in the blood and its distribution in different parts of the body that cause typical seasonal allergy symptoms.

Drugs called antihistamines are generally used to counter its effects.

How do I know if my child has seasonal allergies?

Seasonal allergies occur at a specific time of year and symptoms vary from one person to another, and sometimes from one year to another.

While some individuals are inconvenienced in the spring, others are affected in the middle or at the end of summer or even until the fall. In spring, they are due to tree pollen, and at the beginning of summer, grass pollen is to blame. From the end of July to the first frosts in the fall, ragweed is responsible for seasonal allergies.

If your little one suffers from seasonal allergies, they may be affected by the following symptoms:

  • nasal congestion
  • runny nose
  • sneezing
  • itchy eyes, nose, throat, roof of the mouth or ears
  • watery eyes, and
  • coughing

How can seasonal allergy symptoms be prevented?

For all types of allergies, the golden rule is to avoid the allergen at issue, which is pollen in the case of seasonal allergies. You may think this is easier said than done, especially when your child absolutely wants to play outside! Fortunately, there are a few tricks to minimize the impact to pollen exposure:

  • Plan your child’s outdoor activities at the end of the afternoon or during the evening. Pollen levels in the air are often higher in the morning.
  • Pollen is deposited on the ground when it rains. Go for a walk shortly after a rainfall or even while it is raining; your little one can jump in puddles to their heart’s content!
  • Change your child’s clothes as soon as they come into the house to prevent pollen from spreading inside your home.
  • Have your child wash their hands after entering the house. If possible, have them take a shower or a bath to eliminate the pollen that may remain on the skin or hair.
  • Keep the windows of the house closed, especially the one in your child’s bedroom.

What is the role of medication in childhood allergies?

Despite all of your best intentions, you can't always prevent your child from coming into contact with pollen, especially if they insist on rolling around in the grass! In this case, you will find an ally in certain over-the-counter products sold at the pharmacy.

Saline-based solutions offer invaluable aid in easing congestion and nasal secretions. For additional information about nasal hygiene, read the following fact sheet: Nose care: good habits to adopt. Moreover, certain medications, called antihistamines, are available in oral liquid form and can help relieve allergy symptoms in young children.

As is the case for any other over-the-counter medication made for children, it is recommended to always ask the advice of your pharmacist before purchasing an antihistamine. In addition to helping you make a suitable and informed choice, pharmacists will advise you about how to use medication, the precautions to take, and the possible side effects. Remember the importance of measuring the dosage according to your child's age and weight.

The beginning of mild weather should be synonymous with joy and pleasure and not about sneezing and a runny nose! Summer should be an opportunity to create happy family memories, so don't let allergy symptoms cast a shadow on a perfect summer day!

Speak to your pharmacist for additional information about seasonal allergies and their treatment. Pharmacists are available to parents and their little ones throughout the year!

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Seasonal allergy relief for children

Is your child looking forward to good weather to play outside? Don’t let seasonal allergies get in the way of outdoor activities!
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