When your child is experiencing symptoms, it can be difficult to tell the difference. Sneezing, itchy nose and throat, nasal congestion and coughing are just a few of the common symptoms of airborne allergens, such as pollen or ragweed.
If your child has cold-like symptoms that last longer than a week or two, or if he or she develops a “cold” at the same time every year, your pediatrician can help determine whether a referral to an allergist is appropriate.
If your child has allergies, there may be steps you can take to help alleviate symptoms. Dr. Mark Moss, an allergist with UW Health offers the following recommendations:
- Keep windows closed and, if possible, use air conditioning, which cleans, cools and dries the air
- Keep family pets out of certain rooms, like your child’s bedroom
- While it can be hard to keep kids inside, when the pollen or mold levels are reported to be high staying inside may help (the UW-Madison pollen counting station is one of three in Wisconsin that reports to the National Allergy Bureau)
- If your child is going to be exposed to allergens for long periods of time like playing outside, consider a pollen mask and then having your child shower or change clothes afterward
- Avoid hanging sheets or clothes outside to dry
- Consider taking a family vacation during the height of the pollen season to a more pollen-free area, such as the beach or sea
- When traveling by car, keep the windows closed
While you should never feed honey to an infant under the age of one, it shouldn’t be given to kids with allergies either. But for a different reason. “It’s a myth,” says Dr. Moss. “A teaspoon of honey a day won’t prevent or treat allergies.”