With the start of spring, prepare yourself for hay fever
By The Pulse Feb 27, 2014
By Dr. Jason Strand, family medicine physician at Sage Primary Care
Thankfully for most of us, spring is around the corner. Unfortunately for some of us, this means the beginning of hay fever or allergy season.
Children in particular can suffer from allergies for a long time before being diagnosed. Allergies can lead to behavior problems because they may disrupt children’s sleep. Allergies can also lead to unnecessary use of medication when trying to alleviate cold symptoms that are due to allergies instead. In this article, I would like to help you to recognize the symptoms of seasonal allergies and offer some prevention and diagnosis advice. The following is a list of symptoms and signs that your child may be at risk of allergies. Ask your child’s physician about treatment and diagnosis:
- getting “sick” at the same time every year
- dark circles under the eyes (aka allergic shiners)
- itchy, watery eyes
- sore throat, or itchy throat or ears
- stuffy nose, runny nose or frequent sneezing
If you know that your child has allergies, there are some simple and effective prevention methods that can easily be added to your doctor’s treatment plan:
- Avoid the outdoors during the trigger times for your child by rolling up your windows and using the air conditioner instead. (The Weather Channel offers some useful allergy forecast maps that can help you to track a particular allergen.)
- Bathe at night to wash off the pollen that was accumulated on the body and hair during the day.
- Use a HEPA filter on your vacuum cleaner. (This may require a special vacuum cleaner.)
It may be helpful to start your treatment plan (medications, etc.) a few weeks prior to the known “season.” Depending on what your child may be allergic to, their allergy season may be spring, summer, fall or all year round. The severity and frequency of your child’s allergies will help to determine the treatment and proper testing if any is required. Hopefully, the lists and tips above will help everyone in your family to enjoy the coming seasons that much more.
Dr. Strand is board certified in family medicine and is a fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians. He grew up in Casper and graduated from Tulane University School of Medicine in 2006. He returned to Casper and trained at University of Wyoming Family Medicine. He now sees patients at Sage Primary Care. At Sage Primary Care, he is grateful to work every day with his brother, physician assistant Matt Strand. He is married with three children. In his spare time, he enjoys weight lifting, golf, fishing, photography and cooking.