Nurse's Notes: Seasonal Allergies & Kids
It appears to be a bad allergy season this year. Everyone is sneezing and has itchy, red eyes. Over 35 million people in the United States are affected by seasonal allergies. An allergy is an over-reaction of the immune system to plants, pollens, molds, dust mites, animal dander, feathers, fungus, and other allergens. The body thinks these normal substances are dangerous and causes an allergic reaction. Allergies are often genetic or may develop with continued exposure to certain allergens. Some people outgrow their allergies, and some allergies last a life time.
How can you determine if you have a cold, or if it is allergies? Allergy symptoms typically last for more than two weeks and include a runny nose (clear, watery drainage), sneezing, itchy nose, eyes and/or ears, and a sore throat. With colds, the eyes do not itch and the mucous in your nose/throat is usually yellowish and thick.
Here are a few tips to help manage allergies:
1. If possible, avoid the allergen.
2. Keep pets clean and out of bedrooms. Bathe pets once a week.
3. Wash bed sheets at least once a week.
4. Take a shower or bath before bedtime. This minimizes allergens that you come in contact with during the day.
5. Dust and vacuum house often to keep dust mites at a minimum.