Whether the flowers are blooming or the pets are beginning to shed, allergies can cause quite the headache for most people, but especially for young children. While a majority of adults can suffer greatly from allergy symptoms, it can be completely different when it comes to kids due to their weaker constitutions. Respiratory allergies can wreak havoc on the children’s quality of life, making them miserable and the parents worried. Fortunately, there are quite a few different methods that you can use to prevent or ease your child’s allergy symptoms.
Increase Water Intake
According to David Stukus, MD, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, increasing your child’s water intake is a simple and natural way to help alleviate their allergy symptoms. When children breathe in pollen or fine dust, those allergens become trapped in the body’s mucous membrane, which can irritate the child’s nose and throat. This can result in coughing, a stuffy nose, and a sore throat. Making sure your child drinks ample amounts of water will help to thin and clear some that mucus.
Dr. Stukus goes on to say that steam, or humidified air, can help to clear out your child’s nasal passageways allowing them to breathe easier. This is also a good way to soothe and clear out the child’s irritated mucous membrane. Some options include running a hot bath or a facial steamer. Just be careful not to use excessively hot water or steam as your child could scald themselves.
Reduce Allergen Levels
An excessive amount of dust in the home could irritate a child’s allergies, causing a flare-up to occur. Many places in your house that can accrue dust can also house dust mites. Dust mites are tiny, little insects that feed on organic matter and produce enzymes in their hard shells and droppings. When inhaled, these enzymes can actually trigger allergies and even asthma attacks. Children who are already suffering from allergies will be even more susceptible to these particles.
Regularly cleaning your carpets and furniture is a good way to prevent allergens and dust mites from accumulating in your home, along with changing the filters in your HVAC system regularly. Another effective method is using high-quality residential vacuums for carpets and furniture, such as Miele vacuums which have several specialized options. Using a high-quality vacuum to keep your home free of dust mites, pet hair and dander is a great way to ease your child’s coughing, sneezing, and nasal congestion. Making sure the dust levels are low will also help to prevent your child from having an allergic flare-up in the future.
Reduce Physical Activity
While this may seem intuitive at first, a lot of children that suffer from allergies will continue to play or engage in some form of physical activity which can irritate their allergies causing a flare-up to occur. Frank Virant, MD, from Seattle’s Northwest Asthma and Allergy Center and the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Allergy and Immunology, says that prolonged activity, longer than a few minutes, and cold or dry air can agitate children’s allergies. If a child is looking to play, Dr. Virant recommends doing an indoor activity that doesn’t involve intense physical effort.
Consider Allergy Medications
The last method to prevent your child’s allergies from flaring up is the direct method, medication. If you decide that medication might be a better approach, it is important that you check with your child’s pediatrician or immunologist to discuss what allergy medications and what sort of medication schedule would be best for your child. Some common medications that they may prescribe include antihistamines, eye drops or a nasal steroid spray. Typically, though, most doctors will try to avoid prescribing any drops or sprays for long-term use. Dr. Stukus does give a word of warning; if used too frequently, these medications may actually cause a rebound in symptoms.
Allergies can cause you and your child a lot of discomfort but following these simple tips will help to reduce the severity of your child’s allergies. Checking with your child’s physician when necessary and exercising caution is recommended, but these tips will provide you a starting place to help your child feel better when suffering from allergies.
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