When you have kids, every season brings a new set of challenges. While spring in Birmingham, AL is associated with the start of the allergy season, colder weather doesn’t guarantee allergies will settle down. In fact, autumn weather brings with it some unique conditions and allergens that may cause an array of symptoms.
Is it an Allergy … or Just a Cold?
It can be confusing when your kid comes down with the sniffles. Is it a cold? The flu? An allergy?
Some symptoms that may be common to all three include:
- Runny nose
- Stuffy nose
- Watery eyes
However, one symptom that is unique to allergies is itchiness. Itchiness may manifest as:
- Dry throat
- Throat clearing
- Nose rubbing
- Eye rubbing
- Tingling sensations in the nose or mouth
Other symptoms that could indicate an allergy are:
- Red, itchy and/or dry skin
- Scaly patches on the skin
- Difficulty breathing
What to Do If You Suspect an Allergy
If your child’s symptoms seem to indicate something other than the common cold, or if symptoms persist for more than a few days, it’s time to visit a pediatric ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist.
At Pediatric ENT Associates in Birmingham, Alabama, we have a child-friendly facility staffed with expert pediatric ENT specialists who can diagnose and treat your child’s symptoms. Whether it’s just a cold, an allergy, asthma, eczema or another disorder, you’ll get the answers you need to help your child feel comfortable and healthy again.
How To Treat Fall Allergies
Your pediatrician can help manage your children’s allergies with a variety of medications such as antihistamines, nasal steroids and decongestants.
However, as with any condition, the best treatment is prevention. Helping your child avoid triggers (below) can help keep them symptom-free all fall long. They will also benefit from healthy habits — such as frequent hand washing and taking a shower to wash off allergens after playing outdoors.
Avoiding Fall Allergens
Whether your child has been diagnosed with an allergy, or you’d just like to avoid conditions that may trigger the development of one, the following are some of the most common fall allergens and how to avoid them:
The culprit: Mold
Where you find it: Leaf piles
How to avoid it: As much as kids love jumping into piles of leaves, they’ll have to leave that activity behind if they have allergies. Mold can thrive even in colder temperatures. Keep kids out of the leaves until the first hard frost, which should kill most mold spores. Highly allergic kids should avoid leaves and leaf piles altogether.
The culprit: Mold spores
Where you find it: Leaf piles, wind
How to avoid it: Keep your kids indoors on windy days. Discourage them from playing with or jumping in leaves.
The culprit: Ragweed
Where you find it: Backyards, lawns, schoolyards
How to avoid it: If your child is allergic to ragweed, discourage playing in areas where it might be growing.
The culprit: Pollen
Where you find it: Leaf piles, backyards, lawns, schoolyards
How to avoid it: Kids with allergies should stay indoors on days with high pollen counts. The internet, the newspaper and the radio all have pollen-count reports that you can access every morning.
The culprit: Chalkdust
Where you find it: Classrooms, art rooms
How to avoid it: Encourage your child not to use chalk or to clean the blackboards at school. If the allergy is severe, find out if your child can be transferred to a classroom without chalkboards or discuss your child’s allergy with his or her teacher.
The culprit: Pet dander
Where you find it: Pets and other animals, including classroom pets
How to avoid it: If your child has severe allergies, the best strategy is to avoid animals altogether. If that’s not possible, or if the allergy is mild, frequent vacuuming, washing the animal and encouraging the child to wash her hands after touching the animal may help keep symptoms at bay. Learn more about pet allergies at medlineplus.gov
The culprit: Warm weather
Where you find it: Outdoors on warm days
How to avoid it: Even if your autumns are normally chilly, you may have some unseasonably warm days. If it’s humid, windy or very dry, try to avoid letting your children playing outdoors because these conditions can trigger the release of mold spores.
Start Fall With an All-Clear
If you suspect your child may have a fall allergy, contact the board-certified otolaryngologists at Pediatric ENT Associates for a consultation and evaluation. You can reach us at our offices in Birmingham, Alabama at or via our online form.