School is out, the sun is out, and guess where kids want to be? Outside! If you are a parent of a child with allergies or asthma, the last thing you want is your child to feel limited in their activities. Creating a safe, fun environment for your child this summer should start with these few tips:
1. Have epinephrine auto-injectors readily available
If your child is at risk for anaphylaxis, always make sure your epinephrine auto-injectors are within expiration and kept where they are readily available. If your child has plans away from home this summer, make sure you talk to the adults in charge. Nurses, camp counselors, relatives, coaches, or any other guardian should be aware of your child’s allergy and know where they keep the auto-injector and how to use it properly.
2. Be clean!
Pollen can go anywhere. It can track through the house via pets or cling to your clothes, skin, and furniture. Regular house cleaning as well as bathing pets during pollen season is a great way to decrease allergen exposure. Changing your child’s clothes after outside play and encouraging them to bathe or wash their hands and face will help eliminate the pollen from their skin. Neti-pots, saline drops/sprays, and sinus rinses are also very useful for clearing pollen that may get caught in your child’s nose and sinuses.
3. Be consistent with medication
For best symptom control, it is important to keep up with daily medications like antihistamines or inhalers. Giving the medication at the same time every day, and not only when symptomatic, helps prevent flare ups.
4. Know what’s going on outside
You can check pollen counts and air quality index reports online daily before sending kids outside. Urban environments tend to be 10-20 degrees hotter than rural areas. Washington DC is notoriously labeled as an “urban heat island” where city temperatures can regularly top over 120 degrees. When playing outdoors, it is important to stay hydrated and take breaks in the air conditioning.
5. Improve your indoor air quality
In addition to regular cleaning, there are other things you can do to improve air quality in your home. Changing HVAC filters regularly or using an air purifier may help improve symptoms. Our best advice is to keep the windows closed and the air conditioning on!
6. Make a plan
If your child is going out of town this summer, have a plan for how you can ensure their safety. Don’t be afraid to ask to meet with counselors, coaches, nurses, or any other supervising adults your child will be around. Let them know about your child’s allergies or asthma as well as how to recognize anaphylaxis, asthma attacks, or allergic reactions.
7. See an Allergist!
As your child gets older and seasons change, it is important that they stay in control of their symptoms. Allergists are trained to recognize the changing needs of your child. The Allergy and Asthma Center offers a variety of testing and treatment options and are conveniently located where you work, live, and play!
To schedule an appointment with one of our allergists, call The Allergy & Asthma Center at 1-800-778-9923 or email us.