Before you breathe a sigh of relief that allergy season is over, think again: Four in ten children are affected by indoor allergies, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
Even if your child does not typically have allergies, winter increases the chances your child will be affected. As temperatures grow cooler, we close windows and doors and trap substances like pet dander, dust, dust mites and mold inside. When we turn on the heat, those allergens circulate through the house. Adult’s and children’s immune systems become hypersensitive to these increased levels of allergens, resulting in a long winter of sniffles and sneezing.
The top indoor allergens
Allergens affect your child because they tend to stay airborne, which causes an allergic reaction when your child breathes them in. The most common indoor allergies are:
Reduce the risks of winter allergies
You can improve indoor air quality and reduce your child’s exposure to allergens this winter by following these tips:
Is it an allergy or a cold?
At early onset, the symptoms of a cold and an allergy can seem the same. But while a cold typically lasts five to seven days, an allergy can last as long as the allergy trigger is present. Although cold and allergy symptoms are similar, there are some differences:
|Runny nose||Clear mucous||Yellow or green mucous|
|Throat||Itchy and red||Sore and red|
|Watery eyes||Itchy||Not Itchy|
|Chills and body aches||No||Yes|
When allergy symptoms do show, help make your child more comfortable. Offer plenty of water and juice to keep them hydrated. A stuffy nose is one of the toughest allergy symptoms your child can suffer. Saline nose spray helps to sooth and clear nasal passages. Warm tea can ease a stuffy nose and itchy throat. For itchy eyes, try a cool compress.
Consult your child’s doctor before using medications, and always carefully follow dosage directions.