Fighting fall allergies at school

What's Going Around week of August 5th

Ragweed season peaks around Labor Day in some parts of the country – just as kids are settling back into school.

Some studies have shown children who suffer from allergies at school may have a hard time concentrating in the classroom.

“They’re either not sleeping well at nighttime or during the day all they can be focused on is the fact they can’t breathe through their nose, their itchy eyes, itchy ears, their nose is dripping constantly running, and they’re sneezing their heads off,” said Sandra Hong, M.D., an allergist at Cleveland Clinic.

Relief starts at home

Dr. Hong said it’s important to reduce allergens at home by following a few simple avoidance measures.

·         Keep the windows closed

·         Keep the air conditioning on, if possible

·         Avoid drying towels and bedding outdoors (these items can bring pollen indoors)

Allergy medicine can relieve symptoms

The best way for children with moderate to severe allergies to find relief is through allergy medications, like over-the-counter nasal sprays and non-sedating antihistamines, according to Dr. Hong.

She said allergy medications work best when taken before the allergy season starts – so, if a child has ragweed allergies, allergy medicine should be started about the same time back-to-school shopping begins.

Dr. Hong said it’s important to keep in mind that nasal sprays need to be taken daily for best results, however, an antihistamine can be taken as needed and can provide same day relief in about an hour.

After school tips

Dr. Hong said there are also measures a child can take after school that may ease allergy symptoms.

·         Change clothes that may be carrying pollen

·         Take a shower to help wash pollen off skin and hair

·         Rinse the sinuses

“The pollens are just coating the nose area and the back of your throat. If you can rinse that out your symptoms will definitely be better,” said Dr. Hong.