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If your kid always gets a case of the sniffles at the same time every spring, seasonal allergies are most likely to blame. Telltale allergy signs include a runny or stuffy nose (or both!), sneezing, throat clearing, and itchy or runny eyes. These symptoms are no fun for your kid, and they also interfere with your child’s ability to get a good night’s sleep or focus in school. Kids with allergies generally want to take part in their regular activities. But if there’s a fever or your child doesn’t feel well enough to play, call your pediatrician. RSV, colds and flu viruses can circulate well into the spring months. Here’s what you can do to help get your kid through allergy season:

START MEDICATIONS EARLY

Medication works best when your kid already has it in their system, before pollen is in the air. The biggest offender in spring is tree pollen, so start giving your kid medications in early spring, rather than waiting until you see that yellow film of pollen on everything. Check a daily pollen count to stay on top of things.

CHOOSE THE RIGHT MEDICATIONS

Antihistamines such as kids’ versions of Claritin, Zyrtec or Allegra help with drippiness. Nasal corticosteroids, such as Flonase, can help with stuffiness (though they take a few weeks to work). Medications should be taken every day to be effective.

KEEP POLLEN OUT

Although you’re tempted to fling open the windows for some fresh air, you’re better off running your AC rather than allowing pollen to drift indoors; don’t forget to change the filter frequently. Everyone should take their shoes off so pollen isn’t tracked indoors. Pets should be bathed or wiped down with a damp cloth regularly to limit the amount of pollen they’re bringing inside.

BE DILIGENT ABOUT CLEANING

Clean floors with a damp mop to grab pollen. Sheets, blankets and stuffed toys should be washed weekly in hot water. And don’t forget that pollen sticks to your kid, so make sure they shower after playing outdoors, and wash their jackets and hats, too. ’Tis the (Allergy) Season Tips to help your kids cope with allergies this spring

— Arricca Elin SanSone is a New York-based health and lifestyle writer.

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