Allergy season is miserable for everyone affected, but it’s especially hard for a parent to watch his or her children suffer from symptoms such as itchy eyes, stuffy nose, sore throat, and skin irritation. Your doctor or pharmacist can help with medications, but there’s a lot you can do at home to help your child feel more comfortable, too. These time-tested home remedies can help make allergy season more bearable for your family.
Open Nasal Passages With Steam
Image via Flickr by Clifford Joseph Kozak
Stuffed-up noses and blocked sinuses can make kids really uncomfortable. Moisture is one of the easiest ways to open blocked nasal passages and relieve congestion.
Heat some water on the stove until it is steaming, then pour it into a bowl and have your child lean above the bowl to inhale the steam. You can even drape a lightweight towel over your child’s head to create a steam chamber.
However, to keep your child safe, don’t bring the water all the way to a boil, don’t let your child lean too near the hot pot, and be sure your child stays far enough above the steam to avoid steam burns. Alternatively, children who aren’t old enough for the steam treatment can be soothed by a warm bath or shower.
Try Nasal Irrigation
Cleansing the sinuses with a neti pot can bring long-term relief for allergy sufferers. Many adults report that nasal irrigation reduces their symptoms dramatically, probably by flushing away pollen, dust, and other allergens that get trapped in the nasal passages. It’s best to use the neti pot only during allergy season; daily use can strip away beneficial mucus and bacteria. Alternatively, kids who are too young to use the neti pot might get similar relief from a saline nasal spray.
Soothe Itchy Eyes
Red, burning, and swollen eyes are among the most miserable symptoms experienced by many allergy sufferers. Eye symptoms are caused by allergens such as pollen, pet dander, or dust that dissolve into the tears on the surface of the eye, triggering cells around the eye to release antibodies and histamine. Because rubbing the eyes only makes things worse, flushing irritants away from the eye area is the best way to relieve symptoms.
Have your child wash his or her face often to release irritants that might be trapped around the lashes before they come in contact with the eyeball. You can rinse the eye with water using an eyecup if your child tolerates it; alternatively, you can offer allergy relief eyedrops. A cold cloth held over the eyes can also be very soothing and can help reduce inflammation.
Reduce Exposure to Allergens
Common indoor irritants include pet dander, mold, and pests such as cockroaches and dust mites. You can use a number of strategies to cut down on allergens in your home. Make sure that your air conditioning and heating systems are kept clean, and be sure to replace your furnace’s filter regularly. Vacuum, mop, and dust often. Rugs and carpeting trap irritants, so remove them or switch to a lower pile wherever possible. If mold growth is an issue, use a dehumidifier and get your ductwork cleaned annually. Bathe your pets regularly to cut down on dander.
Use these effective remedies to relieve your children’s symptoms any time they’re reacting to pollen, dust, pet dander, and other environmental allergens.