03-15-2012 (Dayton, OH) -
While flu season is still here, the unseasonably warm weather may bring an early start to allergy season in the Miami Valley. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America’s annual list of 100 worst American cities for people with spring allergies, Dayton-area residents are at higher risk for allergy issues.
An estimated 50 million Americans suffer from allergies, while approximately 20 million Americans are diagnosed with asthma, two of the country’s most common conditions that are often overlooked.
“There are ways kids can enjoy the spring season while reducing their chances of having allergy symptoms or an asthma attack” says Belinda Huffman, pulmonary health and diagnostic coordinator at Dayton Children’s. “Knowing what signs to look for if you think your child is suffering from allergies and/or asthma is essential to the prevention of serious, long-lasting allergy and asthma related conditions.”
Spring allergy symptoms may include:
- Itchy nose, eyes or throat
- Nasal congestion
- Runny nose
If signs of wheezing or shortness of breath develop, it’s possible that a child’s allergies could have turned into asthma and they may need to see a doctor.
What causes asthma symptoms to appear?
While asthma triggers vary person to person, some of the most common symptoms include:
- Irritants in the air such as cigarette smoke and smoke from wood fires, and fumes in the air such as paint, perfume and gasoline.
- Allergens such as pet dander, mold, pollens and dust mites
- Weather can also bring on an asthma episode such as dry wind and cold air
- Respiratory infectionssuch as colds, sinus infections and the flu
Dayton Children’s department of pulmonary medicine suggests contacting your child’s doctor if you notice any of the following symptoms:
- Shortness of breath
- Excessive coughing
- Chest tightness
Unfortunately allergies cannot be completely stopped but they can be controlled with several precautions. To lessen contact with pollens, keep windows closed, use air conditioners instead and try to keep the family inside when pollen counts are high. Also, children should shower after playing outside and avoid mowing the lawn if they have allergies. It’s also important to remember that kids with asthma need to play and remain active.
"Exercise is important," says Huffman." Kids with asthma just need to take the proper precautions."
If problems persist, medicines such as allergy nasal sprays, antihistamines and decongestants can help ease allergy symptoms and for asthma, quick-relief or long-term inhalants may be necessary.
Contact your pediatrician if you think your child may be suffering from allergies or asthma.
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