Spring brings many wonderful things: Sunshine, flowers, a chance for you and your kids to enjoy the outdoors again after being cooped up for months. Unfortunately, Springtime also brings allergies—mostly for you, but sometimes for your children too.
Hearing your child sniffle and sneeze is no fun—and it’s especially hard when you don’t know what’s wrong. Here are several signs that your child has Springtime allergies. By understanding causes and treatments, you’ll be able to bring them relief and prevent allergies from getting worse.
1. It’s spring
Did the season just change? If so, it could be allergies. Seasonal allergies arrive at the same time every year and under the same conditions; for example, when plants start to flower in the spring or when leaves start to drop in fall. When the body breathes in airborne allergens, it responds by sneezing, wheezing, congestion and runny noses.
Summer allergies can be triggered by mold and insect bites. The summer can also bring on “food pollen syndrome”—this is when fruits and vegetables carry allergens that can bring on symptoms in your mouth.
Colds, on the other hand, are caused by viruses that can appear at any time, in any environment. These are much more common in the winter months.
2. Symptoms appear suddenly and stick around
If symptoms suddenly popped up and have hung around, it could be allergies. A cold tends to appear more gradually and goes away in 7 to 10 days. Allergies last as long as the allergens are around, particularly in the plant-growing months (if you’re allergic to pollen). This can be weeks or even months.
Your child could also be allergic to something indoors such as dust mites, indoor mold, pet dander or even cockroaches. These triggers are present year-round. Pay attention to when your child’s symptoms flare up. If she wakes up congested, she may be reacting to dust mites or pet dander. If she starts sniffling and sneezing after playing outside in the morning, that may be plant-related.
3. Your child has itchy, watery eyes
This is another sign of allergies. Allergens can cause an inflammation of the conjunctiva, which is a clear membrane covering the inner eyelids and eyeball. The eyes, in turn, get itchy and watery.
4. Your child doesn’t have a fever
You don’t get a fever with allergies, even though allergies are often referred to as “hay fever.” A fever often accompanies a cold but fevers are not present with allergies.
5. Your child’s friends aren’t sick
Kids don’t always like to share their possessions, but they seem to love sharing illnesses. If your child’s friends don’t appear to be sniffling or congested, your child’s symptoms may indicate that he or she has allergies.
Follow the signs
While colds and allergies have similar symptoms, you can zero in on the cause of your child’s symptoms by paying attention to what the symptoms are, when and how quickly they started, and how long they’ve lasted. Allergies aren’t fun and they’re especially hard for children, but once you figure out what’s ailing your child, you’ll be better able to help him feel better. Take your child to a doctor or urgent care center for an allergy screening; you’ll be able to find out more about your child’s health and get effective treatments for any allergies that do exist.