After a long winter of being cooped up in the house, parents are practically giddy over the arrival of spring. Not only can your stir crazy kids finally get back to the playground, but the sniffles and sneezing of cold and flu season are behind you at last. Or are they? Unfortunately, for the millions of people who suffer from seasonal allergies, the worst sniffles and sneezing of the year are still to come. But how can you tell if your child is allergic to pollen and not just coming down with something?
Pollen is one of the most common triggers of seasonal allergies, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, and pollen allergy is also known as "hay fever" (though experts call it "seasonal allergic rhinitis"). The majority of pollens that cause allergies come from trees, weeds and grasses, particularly ragweed, sagebrush, pigweed, lamb's quarters and tumbleweed; the most problematic trees for those with pollen allergies include birch, cedar, and oak. Interestingly, roses and some flowering trees (such as cherry and pear trees) don't usually cause allergic reactions because they're fertilized by insects instead of wind-borne pollen grains, according to the AAFA.
Once you've figured out that your child has a pollen allergy, you can decide on a treatment plan with your doctor's help (options include over-the-counter antihistamines, shots, and prescription meds). Seasonal allergies are definitely a bummer, but they can be managed. Here are the symptoms to watch for if you suspect your child is allergic to pollen.