Back to Seasonal Allergies


Get Educated Before the Bell Rings

By Jennifer Dumke | Sioux Falls Woman

Back-to-Seasonal-AllergiesIt’s back to school time, which can also mean back to seasonal allergies. While frustrating and painful, the fall season bears predictable triggers even in new surroundings. As your child heads back to school or moves into college housing, don’t forget to take allergens into consideration. A new homeroom or even dormitory may display new allergens. Turn over a new leaf and stay ahead of painful inflamed sinuses, itchy eyes and repeated sneezing with these tried and true tips.

No matter where you live, fall is notorious for ragweed pollen. This air-born culprit can cause sufferers to experience a simple stuffy nose to more severe cases such as difficulty breathing. Although there are some areas more prominent to carry ragweed pollen, a bit of planning can provide peace-of-mind.  “It’s always advised to take your child’s allergies into consideration when planning for back-to-school,” says Dr. Daniel Todd, MD, FACS of Midwest Ear, Nose and Throat. “Yet it’s sometimes the most overlooked.”

Before heading to homeroom or tackling move-in day, ensure your child has the proper medication and tour new living areas and classrooms ahead of time. Many times, parents can identify potential allergy triggers. For younger children, parents and caregivers are even advised to discuss your child’s condition with teachers, coaches and school personnel to ensure a proper treatment plan is in place.

One of the easiest ways to keep allergies at bay is avoidance. However, new living conditions and spaces make this a challenge. For private, controlled areas, such as dorm rooms, keep windows closed. Even though fresh air is a good thing, when it carries dangerous triggers it’s advised to close things up.

Also, take fabrics and carpet into consideration. While these soft surfaces seem to add comfort, they also attract and hold on to dust mites. Advise your child to wash bedding weekly using hot water to kill mites and their eggs. For living areas with wall-to-wall carpet, invest in a high-quality vacuum with a filter and change it weekly to keep indoor allergens to a minimum. Although these allergy-reducing cleaning tips may be a challenge for college age students, it may mean the difference between having a fun college experience or being wrought with painful allergies. “A great way to get older children not living at home to take their allergies seriously is to start practicing these tips before they move so they are accustomed to doing what’s needed when they settle into a new environment,” adds Dr. Todd.

One of the most important things a parent or caregiver can do to prevent and properly treat seasonal allergies when heading back to school is getting educated themselves. “Parents may be educated on how to treat their children’s allergies in familiar surroundings but new environments pose new threats that should be taken seriously,” adds Dr. Todd. The more you know about your child’s environment, both inside and out, is key to optimal learning and overall improved quality of life.