Fall Allergies: Managing Your Child’s Allergy Symptoms 

Now that summer has come to an end, you may start to notice a difference in how your child feels after going outside or coming home from school. Is your little one rubbing their nose and eyes, feeling drained, or constantly clearing their throat? Then they might be struggling with allergies.

We don’t like to see our children suffering when they should be enjoying colorful leaves, cozy sweaters, and the fun harvest activities that fall has to offer. But in Texas, your family can expect those pesky fall allergies to make an appearance as the weather changes. 

But seasonal allergens don’t have to ruin the fun. With the right approach, you can help manage and prevent fall allergies so that your family can enjoy a comfortable season.

What Are Seasonal Allergies? 

When the weather changes, allergens like pollen and mold become airborne and travel through the wind. In Texas, plants and trees pollinate almost year-round, but their allergens become even trickier to avoid during autumn.

Whenever your child helps you rake the leaves or takes a walk on a windy day, their immune systems encounter and react to allergens. Understanding how our bodies fight back against allergens can help your child stay healthy.

Help your child visualize their immune system. Have them imagine their body as a superhero that’s ready to protect them from the bad guys. Sometimes, their inner superhero gets carried away and thinks harmless things like pollen are bad, while other times, their bodies are just doing their job and defending against viruses, such as the flu.

When your child’s immune system goes on high alert in response to allergens, their body produces histamines, which cause those not-so-fun symptoms like sneezing, runny noses, and itchy eyes. These reactions are called allergies, and the changing of seasons can cause a ton of tricky allergens to float around, leading to more allergic reactions.

The Most Common Autumn Allergens

The main allergens that your child will encounter during the fall months in Texas include: 

  • Pollen: Pollen comes from trees, plants, and flowers, and it loves to float in the air. In Texas, your child may react to pollen in the form of “cedar fever” (which originates from juniper and cedar trees) and weed allergies (brought on by ragweed, pigweed, and marsh elder).
  • Mold: Outdoor mold thrives in humid climates. Sounds like Texas, right? Especially in wet environments like beaches, forests, or wherever there’s a great big pile of leaves, mold can get kicked up and cause your child’s immune system to fight back. Note: Your child may have a delayed reaction to mold, and their symptoms may worsen over time.

How Fall Allergies Affect Kids: Know the Symptoms

Now that we understand some of the common culprits of fall allergies, let’s explore the symptoms associated with pollen and mold.

Symptoms of pollen allergies: 

  • Tiredness or extreme fatigue
  • Crankiness
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose (congestion)
  • Mild fever
  • Red, itchy, or watery eyes
  • Itchy throat
  • Sniffling and sneezing
  • Difficulty smelling

Symptoms of outdoor mold allergies:

  • Asthma
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Chest tightness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Itchy nose, eyes, or throat
  • Phlegm/mucus
  • Sneezing
  • Runny or stuffy nose (congestion)

Differences Between Seasonal Allergies, Colds, and the Flu

Fall allergies, the common cold, and flu season all overlap—and they have many of the same symptoms. While allergies are caused by allergens, the symptoms of the flu and the common cold are caused by viruses.

Germs like to spread around between your kid and their classmates when school starts. Viruses are in full swing in the fall, and they can cause a great deal of discomfort for your child and the rest of your family.

Even though allergens aren’t the same as viruses, many of the symptoms are similar. 

Symptoms of the common cold:

  • Sneezing
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Coughing
  • Mucus
  • Watery eyes
  • In extreme cases, fever

Symptoms of the flu: 

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Coughing
  • Sore throat
  • Aching body or muscles
  • Headaches
  • Tiredness or extreme fatigue
  • Vomiting (common in children)
  • Diarrhea (common in children)
  • Pneumonia (common in children)

It can be difficult to tell the difference between the common cold and the flu, but the flu is generally worse, with more intense and abrupt symptoms. Having a runny or stuffy nose is more commonly associated with colds, and colds usually don’t lead to more serious flu associated symptoms like pneumonia.

Parents, if you believe that your child has the flu or a cold, take the following actions: 

  • Go to the doctor
  • Purchase and administer pediatric approved medicines
  • Make sure they get plenty of rest
  • Keep an eye on their symptoms
  • Make sure they stay at home as much as possible
  • Minimize their contact with other people until they recover

Managing and Preventing Your Child’s Allergy Symptoms

Here are some easy-to-follow tips that will help your child manage or even prevent fall allergies:

  • Know Your Environment: Tell your child to stay indoors when pollen levels are high, or they notice that they are having an allergic reaction. You can check the weather forecast or use an app to track the pollen count in the air. If they do want to play outside while pollen levels are high, consider asking them to wear a facemask. 
  • Keep it Clean: Pollen loves to stick to clothing and hair, so be sure that you and your child change, wash your clothes, and bathe when you return indoors. 
  • Stay Hydrated: Drinking plenty of water can help your child flush out those histamines and help them feel better. Plus, water keeps them hydrated and healthy.
  • Allergy Medicine: You might give your child allergy medicine to make their histamines calm down. Remember to read the directions and give them an appropriate dose for their age and size.
  • Allergy-Proof Your Child’s Space: Make your child’s bedroom a pollen-free zone by keeping windows closed and using air filters. You can also vacuum and dust regularly to keep allergens at bay. 
  • Talk to a Doctor: If allergies are making your kid feel under the weather, don’t hesitate to talk to a doctor. They can give you and your child great advice to make sure they’re on the right path to feeling better. 

Fall allergies might try to put a damper on your autumn adventures, but with these tips, you and your child can show those allergies who’s boss. 

Have a happy, healthy fall season!

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