Dealing with Seasonal Allergies: A Practical Guide from Chester County Hospital’s Health e-Living Blog

A girl wiping her nose with tissuePhoto by Andrea Piacquadio on

As spring blossoms, seasonal allergies follow suit, turning the otherwise joyous season into a daunting period, especially for children. Approximately 7.1 million kids in the United States are gripped by these environmental allergies, making this a widespread health concern.

The latest post on Chester County Hospital’s Health e-Living Blog, titled ‘Seasonal Allergies: Keeping Symptoms in Check‘, sheds light on this challenging issue. Penned by Dr. Jason Komasz, Medical Director of CHOP Newborn and Pediatric Care at Chester County Hospital, the article articulates the reality of seasonal allergies or allergic rhinitis, and the ways to navigate through allergy season.

Seasonal allergies or hay fever hit at different times of the year when allergens, such as pollen and mold spores, invade the eyes, nose, and throat, setting off an allergic reaction. In spring, tree and flower pollens are common allergens, while grass pollens take over in late spring and summer. Late summer and fall see a rise in allergens like weed pollen and mold spores.

Indications of seasonal allergies include a runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes and nose, sore throat, cough, and dark circles under the eyes. Aside from these symptoms, allergies can lead to fatigue, poor concentration, frequent ear and sinus infections, exacerbation of asthma, and even behavioral issues due to discomfort and lack of sleep. However, children under two years old are less likely to suffer from these allergies, as they need exposure to an allergen before they can develop an allergic reaction.

Preventing the onslaught of allergies, even during high-pollen seasons, is possible. Steps include encouraging your child to wash their hands and face after outdoor play, limiting their outdoor activities when pollen levels are high, drying laundry in a dryer instead of outside, and keeping windows closed and using air conditioning. Showering before bedtime can also help alleviate nighttime allergy symptoms.

Effective treatment of seasonal allergies pairs preventive measures with safe, over-the-counter allergy medications such as oral antihistamines, nose sprays, and eye drops. However, parents are advised to read labels carefully and consult their child’s pediatrician to ensure the best treatment choice.

Nasal sprays fall into three types: saline sprays that flush out allergens, antihistamine sprays that reduce histamine production, and steroid sprays that reduce nasal inflammation. Oral antihistamines block histamine, which causes swelling and secretions, and come in either “first generation” antihistamines that can induce drowsiness, or “second generation” antihistamines that cause less sleepiness and have longer-acting effects.

For itchy, swollen eyes, topical eye drops are often more effective than oral medication. However, any product with a vasoconstrictor should be used sparingly to avoid rebound redness or dependence on eye drops.

It’s worth noting that nasal and oral decongestants should generally be avoided due to side effects such as a rebound runny nose, high blood pressure, insomnia, and irritability.

Given the complexities of seasonal allergies, Chester County Hospital and CHOP Pediatric Care have combined their extensive resources to provide a dedicated Pediatric Unit for comprehensive allergy care.

For more practical tips on how to keep seasonal allergy symptoms in check, make sure to visit Chester County Hospital’s Health e-Living Blog. Regular servings of useful health and lifestyle information await residents of Chester County, Pennsylvania, and the surrounding region.

With the right precautionary measures and effective treatments, managing allergies doesn’t have to be insurmountable. Let’s embrace each season without the fear of allergies.

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This article is intended for informational, entertainment or educational purposes only and should not be construed as advice, guidance or counsel. It is provided without warranty of any kind.