Our Child’s Allergy Symptoms: The Day We Forgot To Avoid Pollen

Managing a child’s health condition can be complex and challenging, even something as common as seasonal allergies. I’ve written before about the challenges we’ve had with Elliott’s spring allergy agonies, and it’s still an issue. For him to get through spring relatively unscathed requires a daily routine of allergy pills and eye drops, a short “allergy-season” haircut, and a host of preventative actions to keep the pollen away.

We fully appreciate the need for a multi-pronged attack to avoid the sneezing jags, swollen eyes and scary nosebleeds, but a recent experience – when we FAILED to follow pollen avoidance recommendations – really brought home just how important the basics of prevention can be in managing our child’s (or anyone’s) health.

Our Prevention “Failure”

It was a busy weekday evening, with flowering bushes and trees in full bloom, when Elliott – and coach “Dad” – had a Rugby double header for fifth and sixth graders. Given the travel time and need for post-game food-on-the-run, husband and son got home late, still with some homework to complete. This led to the fateful decision to skip a post-game shower (I know…yuck!).

Interestingly, this decision went almost unnoticed – like we hadn’t even thought about the implications for his allergies. Maybe we’d become so used to his hay fever that we didn’t realize how much benefit came from the preventative measures we (and he) had employed over the years. In fact, the next morning – when he woke up with a sore throat and congestion – our first reaction was to think of a cold and start strategizing who would stay home with a sick kid, even though these symptoms were combined with swollen eyes and a puffy face.

Thankfully my husband thought to send Elliott off for a shower first, just to see if this had any effect. And amazingly, a totally rejuvenated 11-year old emerged from the shower – his face and eyes were less puffy and he no longer had the congestion or irritated throat. Elliott declared himself cured and proceeded to get ready for school. What a lesson in the power of the basics of prevention! And to be safe we threw his bedding straight into the washer to remove any residual pollen.

While we kicked ourselves for not getting him into the shower the night before, there was an upside to our “failure.” Now Elliott is highly motivated to shower right after sports practices – and even gets permission from teachers at school to go wash his hands and face after outdoor activities like gym class. That kind of tween motivation was worth a minor lapse in child health management!

About the Author

Audra is an experienced pharmaceutical marketing professional, aspiring writer, and mother of Elliott, a high-spirited twenty-year old. Frequently tired but never bored, she has a strong interest in public health fostered by numerous years implementing global oncology education programs as well as by her twenty-year crazy (wild? amazing?) adventure in parenting. She recently earned a Masters in Public Health to augment her expertise in health policy and health promotion. Audra is a founding member of the PedSafe Team


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