Advancing Children's Health

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April Showers Bring May…Sneezes!

Published by , on May 1, 2013

536219_10151528070069675_329359367_nSpring is finally here. Flowers are starting to bloom again and the weather is getting warmer; welcoming outside activities such as picnics and playing in the park. But spring also brings a relentless pest…seasonal allergies. Rather than breaking out the tissues and wallowing in allergy despair, Dr. Santhosh Kumar, a specialist in the pediatric allergy and immunology division at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU (CHoR), suggests some tips on how to discover what specific allergies may be affecting your child and how to best treat them, while still letting kids be kids.Did you know that children most commonly have seasonal allergies to tree, grass and weed pollens? These allergies are worst during the spring, summer and even early fall months when these plants are pollenating. Some common allergy signs include repeated sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, sinus congestion, and itchy nose, ears or throat.“It is important for parents to be on the lookout for common allergy symptoms during this time, to ensure kids get treatment if necessary and are still able to enjoy the warm months outside,” said Dr. Kumar. “At CHoR, we provide all the services needed for diagnosis and treatment of allergies. Our goal is to make sure kids can enjoy all the fun of spring without the itching and sneezing allergies bring.”For most young children, allergies tend to develop in three stages. Most children who have allergies begin with eczema, a congenital issue when the skin barrier isn’t normal, resulting in an itchy rash. This usually starts at a young age and tends to get better as children get older. Often time’s seasonal allergies develop next. It is important to seek the necessary treatment for allergies to avoid developing asthma, the third stage, in the future.Here are Dr. Kumar’s top 4 tips for keeping your children healthy and happy this spring:

  1. If your child has symptoms of allergies or asthma, get them tested. Some conditions can mimic the same symptoms, so it is important to know what you are dealing with in order to identify the best treatment.
  2. After your child has received an allergy diagnosis, learn their triggers to better prevent worsening reactions.
  3. Don’t prohibit your child from enjoying the outdoors due to their seasonal allergies. Check the pollen count on Weather.com for the plants they are allergic to and avoid having them spend too much time outside on high pollen count days. Also, have your child take a shower immediately after playing outside to remove all pollen from their skin and hair.
  4. Unless directed by a physician, don’t restrict children from physical activity due to allergies. Activity helps with lung development and studies have shown that the vitamin D gained from outdoor sun exposure is incredibly good for kid’s health.

Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU (CHoR) offers a wide variety of services to assist in the diagnosis and treatment of allergies. From skin testing to identify particular allergens, to immunotherapy treatment for severe allergies, CHoR’s allergy specialists can discover exactly what your child reacts to and tailor the necessary treatment to their specific needs.An enjoyable spring starts with a healthy family. Make sure to monitor your child’s symptoms, get them tested if you suspect allergies, seek treatment when necessary and discover your child’s triggers to reduce the frequency and severity of reactions. Springs is a time for enjoying the outdoors, lying in the grass and smelling the proverbial flowers, so make it easier on you and your children by avoiding allergic reactions.What are some of your tips for keeping your kids allergy free during the spring?

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