I have always loved the change of seasons but I’m not a fan of seasonal allergies. With spring in full bloom, my kids want to enjoy the great outdoors without sniffling, sneezing, and rubbing their eyes. Since the early age of ten, I can remember being affected by spring allergies and it’s been an issue for my kids too. This year, we’re taking steps to proactively prevent allergies so I’m spreading the knowledge.

Seasonal allergies, often referred to as “hay fever,” are caused by reactions to types of pollen found in trees, grass, flowers, and weeds.

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mom hugging her son

Allergies Can Effect All Ages

Did you know that allergies are the third most common chronic disease among kids ages 18 and under? Just because my children aren’t showing signs of allergies today, doesn’t mean they won’t show symptoms tomorrow.

My favorite parent resource, KnowYourOTC’s spoke with Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson of Mama Doc. She shared these tips for parents with kids who suffer from seasonal allergies. When I find good tips, especially from Mama Doc, you can be sure I will be sharing them with you!

According to Dr. Swanson, “Typically, seasonal allergies are first seen after the preschool years although they can develop at any time during childhood, usually before age 10. Symptoms of allergies commonly change with age, peaking in severity when people are in their 20s, and then often subsiding as adults age.”

When I was younger, I developed allergy symptoms out of the blue! And so could my kids! And as a mom who suffers from spring allergies, I want to make sure I know what to do if symptoms should arise in my little ones.

Sadly, I’m not only allergic to pollen (and all the spring triggers), but I’m also allergic to my three dogs. With a house full of kids, it’s better to have an allergy action plan in place and take preventative measures before the problems start.

woman holding a puppy
dad kissing his son

What is Hay Fever?

Dr. Swanson explains hay fever (allergic rhinitis) is the most common allergy in Americans and represents the allergic reaction to pollens in the air and environment. It impacts the quality of life, affecting everything from breathing to sleeping. However, once we have a better understanding of the condition, we can take measures to identify and alleviate symptoms or prevent them altogether.

When is Allergy Season?

Seasonal allergy sufferers see symptoms at particular times of the year when specific allergic triggers (grass or tree pollen, for example) circulate. Allergies prompt 17 million visits to the doctor every year, peaking in the spring and fall. However, in places with more mild temperatures, that period can span year-round. Factors like a rainy season can also extend allergy season.

Some children and adults can be allergic to more than one pollen or trigger, thus having symptoms at various times throughout the year. Most children who suffer from hay fever feel a noted shift in symptoms around the same time every year, though. During lacrosse season, Jackson always needs his allergy meds.

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kid sitting on fuzzy chair

Hay Fever Triggers

  • Pollen: This is one of the most common allergy triggers. Pollen is present in trees and grass. The active amount varies depending on weather conditions and the time of year.
  • Dust Mites: Common household dust contains tiny creatures known as dust mites. They thrive in warm, humid environments. Inhaling their particles can impact your immune system.
  • Pet Dander: It’s not just the fur from cats and dogs that can cause allergies, but also the skin flakes they shed. Their saliva and urine can also become airborne and make symptoms worse.
  • Cockroaches: If these pests aren’t bothersome enough, their droppings can become airborne, triggering symptoms.
  • Mold Spores: These lightweight particles produced by mold fungi are present indoors and outdoors. They’re present in damp environments that aren’t well-ventilated.
  • Tobacco Smoke: By now I think we all know the negative impacts of secondhand smoke. Inhaling tobacco smoke irritates the nasal passage.

While the environment is a huge factor, It’s also worth noting that seasonal allergies tend to run in families. If one parent has allergies, there’s a 25 percent chance a child will too! And if your child is lucky enough to have two sneezers for parents, the risk of developing allergies soars to over 60 percent!

chart on kids seasonal allergies

Common Seasonal Allergy Symptoms

So, how do you know if your child has seasonal allergies? If your kids suddenly have watery eyes or runny noses, especially after soccer or baseball practice, you might have an allergy sufferer in the house.

  • Runny Nose
  • Sinus Congestion
  • Coughing or Wheezing
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy/ Watery Eyes
  • Itchy Throat
  • Fatigue, typically caused by poor sleeping when experiencing other symptoms

Allergy Medicine for Kids

There are a lot of over-the-counter allergy medicines that can help relieve allergy symptoms in children. Here are a few:

  • Oral Medicines: There are a few choices in using oral medicines in children for sneezing, runny noses, hives, and rashes associated with allergies. Some over-the-counter oral allergy medicines are available in different dosage strengths.
  • Nasal Sprays: Over-the-counter nasal sprays (intranasal steroids) are now available without a prescription. These can help with allergies in older children. Talk with your pediatrician if your child is using allergy medicines nearly every day, as intranasal steroid sprays can sometimes dramatically reduce allergy symptoms.
  • Eye Drops: Relieve itchy, watery eyes by using eye drops. There are brands approved for children 2 and over, while some (like Visine) have a minimum age of 6. Thoroughly read labels before usage to ensure your child meets the age requirement.
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Some 50 million Americans have allergies. (About 1 in 5 people in this country.)

What To Know As A Parent

  • If your child comes inside itchy and sneezy from playing in the yard or nearby park, have them take a shower or bath to get all the pollen off of their bodies and clothes to reduce the exposure and symptoms.
  • Read the drug facts label carefully for appropriate child dosing information. Be sure to contact a healthcare provider as directed.
  • Some oral allergy medicines may cause excitability or nervousness, especially in children. If you have any questions, contact your child’s healthcare provider.
  • As always, NEVER use allergy medicine to sedate or make a child sleepy.
  • Try to keep your windows closed during the morning and evening when the pollen count is at its highest. If you need to keep your home cool and have an air conditioning system, use that instead. Furthermore, to ensure your A/C unit isn’t being hampered by a build-up of debris and dust, both of which can irritate hay fever and other seasonal allergies, book your system for a cleaning service with a specialist.
  • If symptoms persist, despite all your efforts, visit an allergist to better understand the cause of your child’s seasonal allergies and alleviate symptoms.
kid doing a cartwheel outdoors by a pool
woman sitting outside with her dog enjoying seasonal sunshine

Educate Yourself On Seasonal Allergies

Enjoying the outdoors, picnics, and al fresco exercise go hand in hand with spring. It’s a glorious season of growth, awakening, and unfortunately, sniffles. Being a knowledgeable watery eye, sniffle detective always helps when it comes to spring allergies.

And one way to get up to speed on all things allergies is to visit Know Your OTCs. As a parent, this site has been an excellent resource for me. Understanding how to properly read the drug facts label when giving our little ones medicine makes me feel more prepared and confident in handling spring allergy symptoms if and when they arise. Plus, being proactive also leaves more time to stop and smell the roses with my little ones this season.

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Seventy to 80 percent of school-aged children with asthma also have allergies, which are among the most common asthma triggers, closely tied with viral respiratory infections.

funny seasonal allergies quote
kid rolling in the grass during the spring


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5 thoughts on “Being Proactive With Kids’ Seasonal Allergies”

  1. As an adult I was affected by the pollen and now must take meds to help stop the sniffling. My poor children also are affected by the pollen, but so thankful the meds can be found over the counter.

  2. Thanks so much for the article City Mom! If we don’t catch our household allergies in time they can really hit the kids hard. It was so arduous finding a good kids’ brand we could trust as we are more homeopathic, but we’ve been open to trying new ones lately and experimenting. Thanks for the reminder about precautions with OTC Meds as well.


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