Managing your child’s spring allergies

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Spring is in the air, and so are seasonal allergies. Allergies often start in childhood and continue throughout life.

Dr. Shannon Cohen with East Tennessee Children’s Hospital says allergies differ from colds in that they feature repeated or chronic cold-like symptoms that last more than a week or two or develop around the same time every year. This includes runny nose, nasal stuffiness, sneezing, throat clearing, nose rubbing and itchy, runny eyes.

Common causes of allergies include dust, fungi, animals, clothing and toys, latex, bacterial enzymes used in certain cleaning products, and certain foods.

Cohen says one of the best ways to control allergy symptoms are to identify what your child is allergic to and work with your child’s pediatrician or allergist to avoid it as much as possible. Keep windows closed to keep outdoor pollen and mold from entering the home. Change clothes when a child comes indoors and watch clothing as soon as possible. Give your child a bath when they come in from playing outdoors. Use a dryer for clothing or bedding rather than a clothesline.

Allergy medicine is safe for children when used properly. Always check with your pediatrician before using over the counter medication and use only as directed. Your pediatrician may prescribe an antihistamine or decongestant if your child’s symptoms are severe enough.

Asthma is a chronic condition that starts in the lungs. Children with asthma often feel worse during allergy season. Wheezing could indicate asthma. See your pediatrician to diagnose.

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