Parenting and pollen: Keeping your kids comfortable

Parenting and pollen: Keeping your kids comfortable

03/25/2016 - MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Pollen levels are in the high to extremely high categories this week and that can make life uncomfortable for everyone – including kids.

The large, yellow, pine pollen is most obvious.

"Pine pollen is really not a major allergen, despite popular belief," said Dr. Mark Shecker, a Myrtle Beach allergist. "The thing about pine pollen is, it's so large that you can see it. So, of course, things that you can see, you're going to blame. At the same time, other trees (such as) hardwoods like oak, elm (and) maple trees, they're releasing pollen as well. But that pollen is very small."

According to Shecker, it usually takes a couple of years for a child to develop allergies. That means infants up to age 2 aren't as susceptible.

But after that age, seasonal allergies can bother any child, especially now.

"It's difficult at this time of year.  If you have to be outdoors, probably being outdoors at the times that the pollen counts are lowest might help. They tend to be high in the early morning hours." Shecker said.

He also recommended limiting kids' time outdoors and making sure they take a shower or bath after coming back inside.

Shecker added that over-the-counter medications are also fine.  He suggested fast-acting, non-sedating antihistamines such as Claritin, Allegra, and Zyrtec.

But it's not just seasonal allergies residents have to worry about.  Shecker said if a child is having symptoms that persist for more than a couple of weeks, it's best to see a physician.

"Many get frequent ear infections and some develop asthma," Shecker said.  "All of these things can have much more impactful problems for your child."

For children over the age of 4 or 5, allergy shots are often the preferred method of treatment.

"Allergy shots are sort of a natural treatment option where we make a vaccine of what someone's allergic to, specifically based on their allergy tests and allergy profile," Shecker said. "This is the only treatment that actually treats the underlying causes of the allergy and actually tries to get rid of it. "

For more information, you can reach Coastal Carolina Allergy and Asthma Associates here.

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