"With allergies, usually children don’t experience fever and the symptoms last longer than a week," Esswein said. "You should also take note of the appearance of any nasal discharge, which is usually watery and clear if allergy related, but thick and white when a virus is present."
While it’s hard to stay indoors when the weather is nice, by taking certain precautions you can limit exposure:
- Make your home a safe haven from pollen. Refrain from opening doors and windows when the weather is pleasant as this allows pollen inside. Instead, use an air conditioner to regulate temperatures.
- Avoid extended periods of time outside in the morning when tree pollen counts are highest.
- When kids come in from playing outside, brush their hair and have them change clothes. Just as the pollen sticks to your car, it also sticks to hair and clothing.
- Have your children shower or bathe in the evening so they aren’t sleeping with pollen on their skin or in their hair.
- Your furry friends can carry lots of pollen in their hair. Brushing pets when they come inside can help cut down on the amount of pollen in the house.
It’s nearly impossible to shield eliminate all exposure to pollen. But the good news is treatment with medication can help manage allergy symptoms.
Esswein recommends starting with over-the-counter medications. "There are many options that won’t make you drowsy," she said. "If that doesn’t seem to be effective, talk to your doctor about a prescription medication that would be a good fit."
To achieve the best results, start your allergy medication before pollen is present and continue taking it everyday throughout the season. Typically, spring allergy season starts in mid-March and peaks in mid-April. However, weather can make a difference. A warm spring could bring pollen earlier and a late freeze could delay the production of pollen. Watch the weather and adjust the start date of medication accordingly.
It’s also important for parents to know that allergies shouldn’t be a free pass to miss school. Talk to your pediatrician if allergy symptoms are interfering with your child’s ability to participate in daily activities and school.