Our sweet home Alabama is known for its verdant fields and stately trees hung with draperies of kudzu. Achoo!
Yes, those green and glorious beauties produce pollen that can make your child (and you) sneeze, cough and have other allergic symptoms. Trees release millions of grains of pollen each spring because it’s an essential part of their reproductive cycle. The pollen floats through the air on gentle spring breezes where it’s inhaled or falls like dust on your child’s clothes and hair.
During springtime in Alabama, pollen from oak, juniper and sycamore trees abounds. If your child is allergic to tree pollen, check the Alabama pollen count daily on a pollen forecast site for your area. You can also download a pollen counting app for your smartphone and take simple measures to assure your son or daughter stays sneeze-free.
Top 5 Allergens in Alabama
Stay Indoors During High Pollen Days
Normally, you want to encourage outdoor play to ensure your child breathes plenty of fresh air and gets sufficient exercise. But on high pollen days, running and playing sports can trigger an allergy attack. Pollen counts tend to be higher in the morning, so limiting outdoor play to late afternoons and evenings can help ward off symptoms.
Dust Yourself Off
Every family member should brush off pollen from their hair, clothes and shoes before entering your home. Encourage your child to wash his hands frequently, especially after being outdoors. If your child’s allergies are severe, they should take a shower and wash their hair each night, too.
Filter Your Indoor Air
While you can’t do much about the air outdoors, you can minimize the amount of pollen circulating through your home by keeping the doors and windows shut. Run the air conditioner as much as possible and use an indoor air purifier, too. Change the filters on both of those according to manufacturer’s recommendations to keep them functioning optimally.
Be sure to vacuum at least a couple of times a week to pick up pollen grains that may have lodged in your carpets or furniture. Empty the bag or canister regularly.
Mind Your Trees and Cues
If you notice your child sneezes each time she nears a juniper, oak or sycamore tree, that’s a cue to avoid planting such trees when you landscape. You should also nix a new home purchase if the backyard abounds with them. Instead, look for or purchase trees that are less allergenic, such as pine trees or flowering dogwoods, apple and cherry trees.
Make a List of Allergy Triggers
Use your smartphone or a memo pad to keep track of your child’s allergy triggers. If your child’s allergic to pollen, their heightened immune system may be reacting to other triggers as well, including foods.
Get Effective Allergy Relief
Your child doesn’t have to suffer allergy symptoms or lead a completely cloistered life. Your child’s pediatrician can help determine whether nasal decongestants, corticosteroids or antihistamines are the best options to help your child manage their symptoms.
The friendly pediatric ear, nose and throat specialists at Pediatric ENT Associates, part of Children’s of Alabama in Birmingham, specialize in treating head and neck conditions in children and teenagers. Please contact us if your son or daughter is experiencing an ear, nose or throat concern. For allergies, our team will refer you to a skilled pediatrician.
Next, read Warning Signs of an Ear Infection