How to help your child manage summer allergies

Nana Fenny, MD, MPH

Seasonal allergies don’t have to spoil your child’s outdoor fun, even on high pollen count days.

“We rarely tell parents to keep their children inside and miss activities due to seasonal allergies,” said University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital pediatric allergist Nana Fenny, MD, MPH. “But you do need to give your child with allergies an antihistamine at least 30 minutes before shooing them out the door.”

Pollen — from trees in the spring, grasses in the summer, and ragweed and other weeds in the fall — is one of the most common causes of allergies. Symptoms may include nasal congestion, runny or itchy nose, sneezing, and itchy, watery eyes.

Fenny recommends a few simple lifestyle changes to help relieve a child’s allergy symptoms:

  • Have your child shower, wash her hair and change clothes before going to bed
  • Vacuum your house, and replace your home air filters frequently
  • Use a saline nasal spray before bedtime to help remove mucus and retained pollen
  • If your child has eczema, have him take a shower after swimming in a chlorinated pool to reduce further irritation
  • Add more fruits and veggies to your child’s diet to help fight inflammation
  • Always carry your child’s epinephrine autoinjector. Put it in the shade if possible to minimize exposure to extreme heat

If over-the-counter medications aren’t working for your child, it’s important to see an allergist. A physician will help you identify your child’s allergy triggers and create a treatment plan that may include prescription drugs or allergy shots.

To make an appointment with a pediatric allergist, please call 773-702-6169.

Nana Fenny, MD

Nana Fenny, MD, MPH, cares for infants, children, teens and adults with allergies and immune system disorders.

See Dr. Fenny's bio

Pediatric Allergies and Immunology

Physicians at the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital specialize in diagnosing and treating a wide range of allergic and immune disorders in children

Learn more about our allergy specialists