Spring is here bringing warmer weather, flowers, sneezing, runny noses and watery eyes for some of the 50 million Americans with allergies. This year, some experts are predicting a sneezy spring in the Midwest because of the long, cold winter and higher-than-average snowfall.
The cold winter means the pollen, which can trigger allergies, packs a bigger punch when it does arrive. Mold allergies may also act up because of the wet winter.
This may be of special concern for children with allergies and asthma. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, allergies are the third most common chronic disease among children and adolescents. Asthma is also a major cause of hospitalization in children and the leading cause of school absenteeism.
Milind Pansare, M.D., pediatrician on staff at DMC Children’s Hospital of Michigan, who specializes in the treatment of allergy and asthma, says the most effective ways to treat allergies are avoidance, immunotherapy involving allergy shots, and medications.
Dr. Pansare offers the following 10 tips to prevent environmental allergies that can also lead to asthma.
1. Take allergy medications and shots as prescribed by your physician.
2. Remain indoors and keep windows closed, when the pollen count is high and on windy days.
3. Dustproof the home, particularly your child’s bedroom.
4. Eliminate, when possible, wall-to-wall carpet, curtains, and down-filled blankets or pillows.
5. Wash bedding, curtains, and clothing often and in hot water to eliminate dust mites.
6. Keep your car windows closed when driving.
7. Use a clothes dryer to machine dry bedding and clothing, instead of hanging clothes outdoors on a clothesline, which can cause laundry to become coated with pollen.
8. Consider putting a dehumidifier in damp areas of the home, but remember to clean it often.
9. Have your child wear a face mask if playing outside when the pollen count is high.
10. If you have seasonal allergies prepare for it. Start taking your allergy medications and nasal spray at least two to four weeks before the season begins.
The Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Division at DMC Children’s Hospital of Michigan has a long history of excellence in care for asthmatic, allergic and immune deficient children. Services are offered in Birmingham, Canton, Clinton Township, Detroit and Southfield, Michigan. For further information visit www.childrensdmc.org/pediatric-allergy-asthma-immunology.