Pollinosis is a frequent spring and summer ailment. How can you protect yourself and your child? Modern medical technology and even gadgets can help.
With the arrival of spring, some of us begin to suffer from the seasonal symptoms of allergies, such as runny nose, sneezing, lacrimation, itching in the nose and eyes. These are all manifestations of a variant of spring allergy – pollinosis (from the Latin and English “pollen”, pollen). This disease is widespread, and according to various sources it affects from 20 to 40% of the world’s population, both adults and children. Manifestations of pollinosis are associated with flowering and, as a consequence, the dusting of plants.
Pollen is very small and almost invisible to the naked eye. With wind currents, it spreads easily over very long distances – it may be dozens of kilometers. Through open windows and doors, pollen penetrates into rooms and settles on various surfaces and accumulates in textiles, which can lead to symptoms not only outdoors but also at home.
When does pollen allergy start?
The earliest manifestations of seasonal allergies in our country, depending on the region, can begin as early as March and even in the second half of February. The peak of the disease usually occurs in April and May. The first symptoms of spring allergies are most often associated with the dusting of trees such as alder and hazel. Next comes the birch blossom. From the end of April it is the turn of willow, poplar, elm, ash, maple. In May – oak, lilac, apple, and coniferous trees. In June, the linden tree dusts.
Symptoms of pollen allergy, as well as some other forms of respiratory allergies, most often manifest in children at the age of 4-5 years of life, which is associated with the peculiarities of the formation of our immune system, but they may also first appear at an older age, including an adult who previously suffered no other manifestations of allergy. The first signs of respiratory allergies may also be seen occasionally in children under 4 years of age.
Other types of allergies in children that occur just as often:
- Food allergies (to food, may be accompanied by gastrointestinal disorders, among the strong allergens are nuts, berries and fruits, seafood, honey);
- animal hair (a frequent symptom is a constant stuffy nose)
- Insect bites (during this period, the sting can cause severe redness, swelling, and persistent pain)
- Medicinal (it can cause vaccines, antibiotics, pain medications).
As for seasonal allergies, according to studies, people in cities suffer from them more often than those who live in rural areas, which can probably be explained by the impact of the environment. On the one hand, there is air pollution associated with traffic in the city, which leads to a higher prevalence of allergic diseases in general there. On the other hand, according to hygienic theory, increased exposure to harmless factors associated with living in rural areas (e.g., bacteria, fungi, elements of animal feed) may suppress or reduce the risks of atopy formation.
Adults, whose children suffer from spring pollen allergy, need to know what exactly is the cause-significant, that is guilty of forming an irregular/atypical reaction, allergen. Thanks to such knowledge little patients can carry out timely prevention and together with the allergologist begin adequate treatment, which will significantly improve the quality of life of the baby in the spring and summer period. The causative allergen must be identified according to the doctor’s prescription, after discussing the scope of tests at the consultation. Self-diagnostic attempts without or before consulting a specialist are often ineffective and waste money and time, and what’s worse, can lead the patient and doctor away from the correct diagnosis.
How allergies manifest themselves in children
Symptoms of seasonal pollinosis can worsen year after year, starting at the time of manifestation. This is not always the case, but quite often. The first manifestations of seasonal allergies may be just one or more of the frequent signs: stuffy nose, frequent sneezing, itching and lacrimation from the eyes, tickling or itching in the mouth, throat scratch, drowsiness.
In more severe cases of pollen allergy, bronchial asthma may develop, when during the dusting season the normal symptoms are joined by coughing and / or shortness of breath attacks. Therefore it is extremely important, if parents see the worsening of the baby’s condition, to seek medical help from specialists in good time and comply with all medical prescriptions and recommendations.
Temperatures in allergies in children: is it normal?
Such a symptom sometimes occurs, and with different types of allergies. A slight increase occurs due to changes in blood composition and excitation of the center of self-regulation. Also due to exposure to an allergen, the body may become weaker, and this facilitates the entry of viruses, which can also increase the temperature.
Temperatures up to 38 degrees are not dangerous and do not require antipyretics. If it is higher – you can give medicine and it is advisable to consult a doctor. In no case can you use wiping, the child can be put in bed, provide frequent drinking (liquid should not be hotter than body temperature).
The main rules of behavior
The most important advice for patients already diagnosed with spring allergy and identified allergen: try to avoid contact with the causative allergen. This means that during periods of active dusting, you should take fewer walks in sunny, windy weather, avoid parks and squares, do not go to the woods / nature.
The best time to go outdoors is after a good heavy rain, which helps clear the air of pollen. That said, during or after a thunderstorm or a short rainstorm, a number of allergy sufferers report a worsening of their condition and may have asthmatic attacks. One study showed that the number of ambulance calls to allergy sufferers increases dramatically after a thunderstorm. It can be assumed that during a thunderstorm there is an active release of protein from the pollen grain due to electrical discharges, increased humidity, and increased ozone.
A good habit for a child with seasonal allergies would be to wear hats outdoors and change from street clothes to home clothes when returning from a walk. This way he will leave a large mass of pollen that may have accumulated on his clothes while outside, outside his main indoor resting place, and the unpleasant symptoms at home will diminish or go away.
It is advisable to protect the eyes while walking with sunglasses – there are special models for children. Performing hygienic measures after a walk (toileting the nose, face, maybe even showering) can also be helpful and help reduce contact with pollen.
At home, air conditioning should be preferred to open windows for ventilation and cooling. However, it is very important for parents to take care of air conditioners and have them cleaned in a timely manner.
Patients with seasonal allergies, together with their doctor can prepare for the dusting season in advance. For this purpose, it is better to visit the doctor in autumn or winter and discuss with him the possible options of anti-allergy therapy, which, depending on the severity of manifestations, can be started even a few weeks before the dusting season, so that the season will be less difficult.
Also helpful in preparing for the dusting season are websites and mobile apps that provide information on when dusting starts in a particular region, as well as pollen concentrations in the air during the spring and summer. Such knowledge will help you better plan your activity during the season.
How to treat allergies in a baby
It’s important to mention that recently such an effective method of treating allergies in children and adults as allergen-specific immunotherapy has been actively developing all over the world. Although, by the way, it has been known for over 100 years. But it is the widespread dissemination and scientific validation it received in recent decades. This method of treatment allows us to tame the allergy, that is, to accustom the patient suffering from pollen allergy to its cause-significant allergen. How is this treatment done? Depending on the diagnosis, a medication containing small doses of the allergen is selected, and the method of its introduction: treatment is given either as hypodermic injections, or as drops and tablets taken under the tongue.
The treatment usually starts with minimal therapeutic (strictly adjusted!) doses, gradually increasing the concentration and continuing to give according to a certain scheme, as if accustoming the organism of an allergic person to its allergen. After some time of such therapy a person may stop reacting to the irritant at all or significantly reduce the severity of his allergy symptoms, thereby minimizing the need for seasonal treatment with symptomatic agents.
The disadvantages of such treatment are its duration, as it takes several months (from 2 to 6-7 months, depending on the drug and method of administration) for 3-5 years. Of course, such treatment requires high motivation from the patient. However, the effectiveness of allergen-specific therapy explains its annual increase in importance among methods of treatment of seasonal (and not only) respiratory allergies.