Dealing with spring allergies

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – With spring right around the counter and summer not far down the road, many people are spending more time outdoors. That also means a new round of allergies.

Nurse Practitioner Pam Wright with Allergy, Asthma and Sinus Center says pollen counts have been going up for the last two weeks or so. She says the only thing people can really do inside to prevent allergies to outdoor pollen is to keep windows closed in your home and car.

Wright says there are several over-the-counter nasal sprays, including Nasacort and Flonase, can help with the stuffiness that come with allergies that antihistamines don’t usually help with.

Dr. Katy Stordahl with East Tennessee Children’s Hospital says allergy symptoms differ from those of the common cold in that they last more than a week or two and/or develop around the same time each year. These can include runny nose, nasal stuffiness, sneezing, throat clearing, nose rubbing and itchy, runny eyes.

Common causes are dust, fungi, animals, clothing and toys, latex, bacterial enzymes and certain foods.

To control allergy symptoms in your child, identify what he or she is allergic to and avoid it as much as possible. Keep windows closed, change clothes when a child comes in doors, give them baths when the come in from playing outdoors and use a dryer instead of a clothes line.

Allergy medicine is safe for children, according to Stordahl, when used properly. Always check with your pediatrician before using over the counter medication and use only as directed to manage symptoms. Doctors can prescribe a decongestant if needed.

There is a chance your child could be suffering from asthma instead of allergies. Asthma, according to Stordahl, is a chronic condition that starts in the lungs and children with asthma often feel worse during allergy season. Wheezing could indicate asthma. See your pediatrician if you think your child has asthma.

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