Playing Outside When Your Child Has a Pollen Allergy

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Hey there, hay fever.

There’s nothing like a hot, dry summer day to bring out the itchy, watery eyes — and the sneezing, sniffling, and dry cough that can go along with it.


If your child has a pollen allergy, you’re no doubt going through a rough time right now. This might be the time of year when you’re first noticing the symptoms, actually. Many parents first mistake environmental allergies for a common cold.

Pollen counts are highest from March to October — prime playing-outside months, unfortunately — but there are still ways to reduce your child’s expose to the P-word …

  • Keep your windows closed in the mornings and early evenings, and visit the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology website to check the pollen count in your area.
  • Consider buying them a few pairs of children’s sunglasses, to help shield their eyes from the pollen.
  • On days when the pollen count is high, skip the clothesline and use the dryer instead. You don’t want their outfits getting full of the (sometimes invisible) residue.
  • Rinse your child’s clothes out after they’ve played outside, and consider giving them a bath, too — especially on days when the pollen count is high.
  • Wipe down your child’s hands and face with a wet washcloth after they come in from playing outside. If they’re old enough to understand, remind them not to touch their eyes, mouth, or nose while they’re out there.
  • We’re totally not medical professionals, but we would encourage you to talk to your child’s pediatrician about the possibility of giving them an antihistamine. You can buy kid-friendly liquid versions that won’t make them drowsy, and a daily dose might really improve their runny nose, sneezing, and itchy eyes. You can also ask about using a saline nasal rinse after they’ve been playing outside.

Happy summer-ing!

H/T to Parentdish

Heather Laura Clarke, a contributing writer at Scratch or Sniff, lives in Nova Scotia, Canada, with her high-school sweetheart husband, seven-year-old son, and five-year-old daughter. She writes for newspapers and magazines across Canada and the U.S., and blogs about her family life at Heather's Handmade Life. Follow her adventures on Twitter or Instagram.

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