Oklahoma’s wet summer will likely lead to an early fall allergy season. According to Oklahoma Allergy & Asthma Clinic’s Board-Certified Allergist Jim Claflin, M.D., about 40 percent of Oklahoma’s adults and children suffer from allergies.
“Basically there is no difference in symptoms between a cold and allergies—sneezing, stuffy nose and coughing. The only difference is that a cold goes away in 5 to 7 days and allergies don’t go away,” says Claflin.
People develop allergies anywhere from ages five to 30, but some children can develop symptoms in their first year. Claflin says that as children become more mobile in the first to second year, exposure increases to outside and inside allergens such as pollen, dust mites and pet dander.
If parents suspect that their child might have allergies, Claflin recommends having the child tested by an allergist. Allergies tend to run in families and have been on the rise since the early 1980s.
While there is no cure for allergies, they can be managed with proper prevention and treatment. Parents can help their children with these avoidance techniques:
- Once the infant moves out of the crib to a bed, use encasings for the pillow, mattress and box springs to help keep the dust mites away.
- Keep pets out of bedrooms and bathe all pets weekly to reduce pet dander.
- No pets such as rats, gerbils, hamsters birds or rabbits should be kept inside the house. These animals are more allergenic than cats and dogs.
- Wash the child’s hair every night if he or she has been outside.
- No open windows fall or spring. Use your central heat and air.
- Don’t hang freshly washed clothes outdoors to dry.
- No riding in the car with the windows down.
- No smoking at all. Even residual smoke on clothing can be an irritant