Seasonal Allergies & Your Child

nurse with coughing childAs spring finally settles in around us, so does allergy season. Up to 40 percent of children in the United Status suffer from seasonal allergies. If you and/or your partner have allergies, this increases the chance that your child has allergies too. Seasonal allergies are annoying, yet relatively harmless. But when do they stop being harmless? We’ve put together some tips on when you should take your child to an allergist or when it might be more than just allergies.

 

Seasonal Allergies

Seasonal allergies are allergy symptoms that occur during particular times of the year, usually when outdoor molds release their spores, and trees, grasses, and weeds release tiny pollen particles into the air to fertilize other plants. When your child is allergic to mold spores or pollen, their immune system treats these allergens as an attack. Their immune system then releases chemicals, including histamine, as a defense which causes allergy symptoms, from itchy eyes to a runny nose.

Seasonal allergies can start at almost any age, even if your child hasn’t had allergies in the past. Usually, they develop by the time your child is 10 and reach their peak in their early twenties.

 

Symptoms

If you notice your child experiences cold like symptoms around the same time every year, it could be seasonal allergies. These symptoms, which usually appear suddenly and last as long as a person is exposed to a particular allergen, can include:

  • Sneezing
  • Itchy nose and/or throat
  • Nasal congestion
  • Clear, runny nose
  • Coughing
  • Itchy, watery eyes

 

When To See A Doctor

Most seasonal allergies can be treated with child-specific, over-the-counter antihistamine or allergy medications. However, if your child starts wheezing, struggles to catch their breath or they frequently feel a tightness in their chest, that could be a sign that the allergies have progressed into asthma, and you should make an appointment to see your pediatric provider right away. Other signs that indicate its time to take your child to your pediatric provider:

  • If your child is experiencing chronic sinus infections, nasal congestion or difficulty breathing.
  • If your child’s symptoms seem to pop up over many different months out of the year
  • If antihistamines and over-the-counter medications do not have any affect on your child’s symptoms.
  • If allergies or asthma seem to be preventing your child from doing normal, every day activities.

Before your visit with your pediatric provider, be sure to take note of when your child’s symptoms are most prevalent: are they outside or inside? Is it day or night? Look for any patterns—the repetitiveness is the biggest indicator that the symptoms your child may be experiencing are linked to allergies, seasonal or otherwise. Most importantly, a fever is never associated with allergies and is usually a sign of something more serious. With this information, your pediatric provider can better determine if a referral to an allergist is necessary.

Hopefully these tips will help you feel more at ease about seasonal allergies, but you should never hesitate calling or scheduling an appointment with your pediatric provider if you’re concerned with new symptoms your child is experiencing.

Twin Cities Mini Golf

Enjoy the outdoors this spring and summer with an afternoon playing mini golf with your loved ones and little ones! Mini golf is a great way to exercise as a family, and helps children with their hand-eye coordination. If you need a rainy day activity, several courses are available indoors as well.

To find a course near you, just move your curser over the map!

Keeping Your Children Safe with Poison Safety Tips for Kids

Did you know that children under the age of six make up almost half (48%) of the poison exposures each year? It is essential that you as a parent have access to the information and strategies you need to keep your child safe, so we wanted to give you some simple tips to prevent your child from getting their hands on something that could be hazardous to their health.

Around the House
Whether you have children, or are expecting, there are a number of things that you can do around the house to keep your children safe, and it all starts with baby proofing. Of course, softening sharp corners and edges around the house is one thing, but when it comes to poison prevention, your number one objective is to keep medicines, household cleaning products, and other potentially poisonous household goods out of sight and out of reach. How?

  • Install safety latches on any cabinets containing poisonous materials.
  • Store hazardous household products up high.
  • Purchase products that come in child-resistant packaging* as an extra line of defense.

*It is extremely important to note that child-resistant packaging is NOT childproof. This type of packaging is designed to make it difficult for a child to open the product, giving you more time to notice and remove it.

 
Medicine
Children get sick, it’s a fact of life, and naturally we reach for a variety of medicines to cure their ailments. But, with that being said, improper use of medicine, be it the wrong dosage or use of the wrong medicine, can have devastating effects on your child. To avoid any mishaps, use the following poison safety tips concerning your over the counter and prescription medicines:

  • Always turn on the light when searching for and administering medicine to avoid grabbing the wrong bottle
  • Read the label and any directions listed on the packaging thoroughly
  • Double-check the dosage before administering
  • Never leave a medicine bottle out (on a counter, at your child’s bedside)
  • Never refer to medicine as “candy” or a “treat” to entice your child to take it
  • Avoid taking medicine in front of children whenever possible

 

Household Chemical Products
Household cleaning products, especially things like bright colored laundry detergent pods, and other sweet smelling cleaners, are dangerous for young children who learn with their mouths. The same goes for things like paint, rodent/insect poison, and more. To protect your child…

  • NEVER, under any circumstance, use a food container, cup, or bottle to store chemical products
  • Always remove any toys (child or pet) from your yard before applying pesticides of any kind
  • Rinse and re-cap empty cleaner/product bottles before recycling or disposal
  • Keep products in their original containers whenever possible

 

In General
There are other potentially dangerous products and items that can be found around your house. For instance, you need to know about the plants in and around your home, removing any that are poisonous, regardless of how beautiful they may be. From washing all clothing worn when using pesticides and other aerosol paints to keeping purses containing medicine up high and out of your child’s reach, there are many ways to create a safe environment for your children. Two of the most important tips are the following:

  • Always close containers if you are interrupted during use, this way, your child never has access to an open hazardous product/medicine/etc. while you are distracted.
  • Teach your child to always ask an adult before eating or drinking anything.

By following these tips, you can help to protect your children from a potentially life-threatening encounter with poison. If you ever suspect that your child, or anyone that you know has been poisoned, do not hesitate to call the Poison Help Line at 1-800-222-1222.