Outdoor Seasonal Allergies in Children
Outdoor seasonal allergies in children are caused by pollen, a powdery substance released into the air by weeds, trees, and grass. The good news is that different kinds of pollen will only surface during certain times of the year.
Knowing your child’s allergy triggers and when pollen counts change can help you and your child’s pediatrician manage his or her symptoms.
Although your child could be allergic to any kind of weed, ragweed is one of the most common weeds to cause allergies, especially in summer.
Fast facts about weed allergies:
There are dozens of types of ragweed in the United States
Depending on where you live, ragweed season starts in mid-summer and normally lasts until the first frost
Kids who are allergic to grass pollen should avoid these types: Timothy, Johnson, Bermuda, blue, orchard, and sweet vernal grasses. But there are more allergy-friendly types, including St. Augustine.
Fast facts about grass allergies:
Grass releases pollen from late spring until fall
Grass can cause more symptoms after a lawn is mowed
Kids can get an allergic rash from contact with grass
The trees to avoid if your kid has seasonal allergies include deciduous trees, such as birch, oak, elm, maple, ash, alder, and hazel.
Fast facts about tree allergies:
Trees release pollen from late winter to the end of spring
More allergy-friendly trees include apple, cherry, dogwood, crepe myrtle, magnolia, pear, and plum
Managing your child’s seasonal allergies
Kids love to be outdoors. Here are a few tips to help you keep allergies from getting in the way of their fun in the sun:
- Scan the playground:If your child has seasonal allergies, scan the playground for non– allergy-friendly grass, trees, or flowers and then steer your child away
- Be prepared for anything:Prevent a playdate from getting cut short. Keep your child’s allergy medication, tissues, cough drops, and eye drops on hand
- Know the pollen count:Pollen levels change often. And when they do, so can your child’s symptoms. Use the Allergy Forecast – Pollen Count tool to track how much mold and pollen is in the air on a given day
- Stay out of the wind:Stay inside on windy days when pollen counts are high; wind can also blow pollen further
- Avoid the outdoors during peak pollen times:Pollen production peaks in the late morning and early afternoon. If you can, plan to limit your child’s outdoor exposure during those times of day
- Keep the outdoors outside:Teach your kids to leave their shoes at the door. Pollen can also collect on clothes and hair during outdoor play. Have your child take a shower and change into clean clothes when he or she reenters the home. After washing clothes, use a dryer instead of leaving them outside to line dry
- Clear the air:In the car, keep windows closed and switch the air conditioning setting to recirculate. At home, keep windows and doors closed and use an air purifier or air conditioner to eliminate allergens from the house
- Plant a hypoallergenic garden:Not all flowers and shrubs cause allergic reactions. Some allergy-friendly flowers include begonias, cacti, geraniums, irises, lilies, pansies, and tulips. Allergy-friendly shrubs include azaleas, boxwoods, hibiscus, and hydrangeas
Do they sneeze in the house? Find out about indoor year-round allergies
Keep track of what’s making them suffer
Does your child get allergies at the playground? On your lawn? In a friend’s backyard? The Smart Allergy MomTM Toolkit Symptom Tracker can help you and your child’s pediatrician pinpoint your child’s allergy triggers.
Download the Symptom Tracker (PDF)
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What is HYPOALLERGENIC?
Having the characteristic of provoking fewer allergic reactions in allergy sufferers.
See more at the Smart Allergy Mom™ Toolkit Glossary