The warmer season of spring is usually a welcome change for families, with cooler temps giving way to calmer days spent outdoors in the sunshine.
But when spring is in the air, so are irritating plant particles — and these can cause havoc with little ones’ noses.
Watery eyes and sneezing are just some of the symptoms your child might suffer from come spring — so it’s good to know what causes hay fever and what you can do to make spring a happier season for the whole family.
Get to know spring allergy symptoms. As a parent, it’s sometimes tricky to know if your child is sneezing because of pollen or if they have a head cold.
How to manage spring allergies
- Inside out
On windy days, when the pollen count is high, it’s best to stay indoors. If your little one does play outside — wash their clothes without delay.
- Track your child’s symptoms
Take note of your child’s symptoms and when they occur. It will help ascertain what’s causing the allergy and assist you when you consult a medical professional.
What are the symptoms of allergies?
A child with seasonal allergies frequently has dark under-eye circles, wipes her nose in an upward fashion (aptly called an “allergic salute”), breathes through her mouth, sneezes, rubs her nose and eyes, coughs or wheezes, has trouble remembering things or is irritable or moody. She may also complain about the following:
- An itchy, runny nose
- A congested, stuffy nose
- Itchy, watery or swollen eyes
- Itchy throat and roof of the mouth, especially in the morning (from mouth breathing)
- Itchy skin
- Disrupted sleep and fatigue
- Difficulty breathing (get a professional opinion right away if your child tells you this, to rule out more serious causes)
- Sore throat
- Ear pain
If the same symptoms occur around the same time every spring, summer or fall, it’s a sign that her body is probably reacting to outdoor allergens. And if you or your partner have a family history of allergies, there’s a good chance your little one is predisposed to those seasonal sneezes and sniffles too.
- Over the counter medication
There are plenty of long-acting, non-sedating antihistamines in children’s formulations. But check with your doctor or pharmacist before purchasing.
- Check the pollen count
You can check the Australian pollen count in your location here. If it’s high at certain times, plan your child’s outdoor activities accordingly.
- Home front
A few things you can do to reduce your child’s symptoms are keeping windows closed to stop extra pollen coming inside, avoid hanging clothes outdoors, and using an indoor air purifier to remove allergens from the air.
Allergy symptoms are no fun for kids; if left untreated, they can lead to sinus and ear infections. So see an allergist, who can determine what triggers are causing your little one’s symptoms and advise the best course of treatment.
In the meantime, the best way to relieve sneezing, itching, runny nose and coughing in babies and toddlers are to try to avoid allergens (or minimize exposure) in the first place if possible.