CHICAGO - Allergy season is in high gear.
"All the sudden it was sneezing, sneezing, sneezing, red nose, watery, itchy eyes," said Riverside mom Anitra Hamilton.
She says her oldest daughter, 8-year-old Alana, started sneezing more than usual last year, around the time of the pandemic lockdown.
"I thought, well maybe it's something in our house. We have cats. She's not at home with them regularly, maybe that's an issue.," Hamilton said.
Western Springs Allergy and Asthma specialist, Dr. Renee Lantner says seasonal allergies, for many people, are ramping up as the climate changes.
"One of the first things I tell people, which they don't think about doing, is making sure they don't bring the pollen into the house. So we have them wipe down their hair, wipe down their face, change their clothes, sometimes take a shower," said Dr. Lantner.
Dr. Lantner calls pollen "the invisible glitter" because it can get everywhere.
Dr. Sai Nimmagadda, an allergy and immunology doctor at Lurie Children’s Hospital, says parents have been lighting up the phones with questions about their children’s red, itchy eyes and congested noses.
He says seasonal allergies to things like outdoor mold, pollen, trees, grass and weeds typically develop around age three.
To wipe them out the natural way, Dr. Lantner recommends bathing children at night to avoid allergen spread to sheets and pillows and putting a hat on kids when outdoors.
She says natural supplements like Quercetin, Bromelain, Stinging Nettle or Butterbur can also be helpful, if they come in a form children can easily take.
"Most of the prescription drugs have gone over the counter. A lot of the antihistamines like Zyrtec, Claritin and Allegra," said Dr. Nimmagadda.
For a quick fix, something as simple as saline nose spray, that you can pick up at the drug store, can also wash out pollen and mold spores without medication says Dr. Lantner.