While spring and summer are thought of as the worst parts of allergy season, the fall and winter can also be challenging for children who have pollen, dust and other allergies common to the New York area. Ragweed flowers mature and release pollen in the fall, which triggers the allergic responses in the form of hay fever in more than 100 million Americans annually. Here are a few tips on how to identify if your child is being affected by winter allergies, what you can do to protect them and how you can best treat their condition.
Signs Your Child Is Afflicted with Winter Allergies
The most common symptoms of winter allergies are itchy eyes, runny nose, congestion, frequent sneezing and dark circles under the eyes. An allergic reaction to weed pollen or dust mites is often mistaken for illnesses like the common cold or the flu because they present with similar symptoms. However, if your child presents these symptoms for an extended period of time, say longer than 10 to 14 days, and they aren’t experiencing the body aches that commonly accompany cold or flu, it’s likely that their illness is allergic rather than viral in nature. The only way to know for sure if your child is suffering from an allergic reaction to pollen or dust mites is to consult with a qualified professional.
Steps You Can Take to Protect Your Child from Winter Allergies
Although ragweed is one of the most populous plants on the planet, there are certain things you can do to protect your children from winter allergens. When transporting your child to and from school, make sure the windows are rolled up in either the air conditioning or heating system is running to limit their exposure to tree and weed pollen. Before turning on your home’s heating system for the first time in the season, make sure that it has been thoroughly dusted before and that its filter is replaced if necessary. Similarly, make sure all of your child’s bedding and any wet clothing is washed weekly at a temperature of at least 130 degrees. Using HEPA air filters and dehumidifiers in your home is also a good way to reduce the amount of dust particles and weed pollen in the air. After any outdoor activities, make sure your child takes a shower to wash off any pollen that landed on their skin and hair.
Treating Winter Allergies
There are a number of over-the-counter allergy medications available, but only your doctor can identify what triggers your child’s allergic reactions and prescribe an appropriate course of treatment. If you believe that your child is suffering from winter allergies, contact us to make an appointment with Dr. Shukla today. With his personalized and holistic approach to pulmonary medicine, Dr. Shukla has been able to help numerous patients manage their conditions over the years, and he has the skills and experience to help your child, too.