Simple steps to helping you child through allergy season

a young girl sneezing with allergies

Are seasonal allergy symptoms leaving your child tired, unable to concentrate and down in the dumps? It’s no surprise considering they can affect the simplest of activities and coincide with arguably the best time of the year. The good news is there are ways to ensure allergies don’t ruin all the fun. Here’s how:

  • Organise indoor activities when pollen count is high ‐ The best way to reduce allergy symptoms is to minimise allergen exposure. Check the pollen forecast online, in the newspaper or on TV and if the count is high, try and stay indoors where possible. To make the indoors more fun for kids, organise activities like board games, painting or puzzles.
  • Take precautions – Often it’s just not practical to stay inside all day, so encourage your child to wear sunglasses and lightly coat the insides of their nostrils with Vaseline, which traps pollen and stops it from causing bothersome sneezing and sniffling.
  • Close house windows in the morning and evening – Pollen count tends to be highest when the air is warming up (8‐10am) and cooling down (5‐7pm).
  • Keep car windows up ‐ Keep the car windows up and use recirculating air conditioning, especially on high pollen days.
  • Splash their eyes with water – Teach your child to frequently splash their eyes with water to flush out any pollen.
  • Wash their hair before bed ‐ Ensure they shower and wash their hair at night time or after they come in from outdoor activities. Pollen is sticky and can cling onto hair and clothing, transfer to their pillow and disrupt their sleep.
  • Dry bed linen and clothes indoors – When pollen counts are high, dry bed linen and clothes inside rather than on the outdoor clothesline.
  • Head to the beach – If outdoor outings such as a picnic in the park cause allergy flare‐ups in your child, take a trip to the ocean instead, which is often void of bothersome pollen.
  • Host sleepovers or playdates – If your child is allergic to cats or dogs and has trouble visiting friends with pets, encourage them to invite their friends over to your home.
  • Look into indoor sports – If playing sports outdoors on or around grass triggers your child’s symptoms, consider other fun activities like gymnastics, dancing, swimming, nippers and indoor soccer etc.
  • Use allergen‐proof bed covers – For kids who have allergies to dust mites, put dust‐mite resistant covers on mattresses, quilts and pillows. Also wash sheets and soft toys in very hot water at least weekly.
  • Damp dust regularly – Dust with a damp or microfibre cloth to collect dust and stop pollen from becoming airborne.
  • Make the most of the wet weather – Grab the gumboots and head outside on rainy days. Rain can reduce the pollen count by washing it from the air, thereby providing relief for hayfever sufferers.
  • Consider a vitamin C supplement ‐ Vitamin C may help lower histamine levels and assist in the relief of allergy symptoms.
  • Be prepared – Have tissues, nasal sprays and appropriate non‐sedating medicine on hand to help relieve allergy symptoms when you’re out and about. Ensure your child’s school is also aware of their troubles and has treatment on hand.