Checklist for your Child’s Fall Allergies

As summer winds down, hay fever season creeps its way in. Fall allergies in San Diego can be just as uncomfortable as their spring counterparts — especially for your child. A persistent runny nose, itchy eyes, and sneezing can wreak havoc on her schoolwork, sleep, and overall mood.

Here is a handy checklist of tips to keep your child’s allergies under control for the next few months, which will ensure she stays happy and alert from breakfast to bedtime.

  • Close the windows. The fall months can be very hot and dry in San Diego. And during Santa Ana conditions, the strong winds kick up tons of allergens, causing a host of miserable symptoms. Although it may be tempting to open your windows and get some air moving through the house during hot stretches like these, don’t — because that air brings in huge amounts of pollen with it. If you have central air conditioning, run it. If not, invest in a small window A/C unit for your child’s bedroom and the room where she spends most of her time. Also, make sure that you have air purifiers throughout the house and that you change their filters frequently.
  • Dry your clothes inside. Ahhh, that fresh, sun-dried smell on your clothes is so delightful! But no matter how much you might like to dry clothes outside on a clothesline, use a dryer during allergy season — air-drying outside makes your clothes and linens pollen magnets.
  • Be vigilant about lawn care. Keeping your outdoor area trimmed and weeded can help immensely with cutting down on pollen-generating grasses, weeds, and plants on your property. If your schedule is tight, or if you don’t have the proper equipment, hire a lawn care service to take care of your property, at least during seasonal allergy months.
  • Wash and change when you get home. As soon as you get home, or come inside from time spent outdoors, make sure your child changes her clothes and washes her face and hands thoroughly. Microscopic pollen particles easily attach themselves to clothes, shoes, hair, and skin. For good measure, try to also keep your child out of her bedroom during the day (to keep the room as pollen-free as possible) and have her bathe before bed.
  • Think ahead about outdoor time. While children should definitely enjoy the outdoors and be active, those who suffer from allergies need to be a bit more discerning about when they venture outside. Hot, windy, dry days are the worst for pollen activity, and in general, pollen is more concentrated in the air between the hours of 10am and 4pm. Try to plan your child’s schedule so that she goes outside in the early morning or evening, just before or after dinner. Check the daily pollen counts so that you’re aware of the days where it’s best for her to stay indoors completely.
  • Use medication and see the doctor as needed. There are lots over-the-counter allergy medication options that are non-drowsy, long-lasting, effective, and safe for children. But remember that allergy medications aren’t a necessarily a quick or magic fix. They often take some trial-and-error to find which one works best for your child, and to be effective, most medications need to be taken everyday. While it’s understandable that you’d want to hold off on giving your child allergy meds on “good” days, she will actually do better if you continue with daily doses until allergy season ends. Be sure to check with your doctor as to when it’s appropriate to stop.

Scripps Affiliated Medical Groups is your source for San Diego’s most qualified Allergy and Immunology Specialists. Make an appointment with us today.

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