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Allergies


Pollen exposure, sensitivity to pollen and mold, and contact with other allergens can affect your child’s allergy symptoms


reaction in the immune system. If you have an allergy to pollen, the immune system — which controls how your body defends itself — identifi es pollen as an in- vader or an allergen. Your immune system overreacts by producing antibodies called Immunoglobulin E (IgE). T ese antibod- ies travel to cells that release chemicals, causing an allergic reaction. Your body may then have sneezing, watery eyes, coughing, wheezing, and/or itching of the throat. Pollen is a tiny cell needed to fertilize


plants. Pollen from plants with colorful fl owers, such as roses, usually does not cause allergies. T ese plants rely on insects to transport the pollen for fertilization. On the other hand, many plants have fl owers that produce light, dry pollen eas- ily spread by the wind. T e dry pollen in the wind causes the allergic reaction. Mold is tiny fungus related to mush-


rooms — but without stems, roots or leaves. T e spores fl oat in the air like pol- len. Mold can be found almost anywhere, including in soil, plants and rotting wood.


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Outdoor mold spores begin to increase as tem- peratures rise in the spring and reach their peak in July in warmer states, in October in the colder states, and year-round in the South and on the West Coast. Your child’s


symptoms may be aff ected by recent contact with other


allergens, the amount of pollen expo- sure and sensitivity to pollen and mold. Allergy symptoms are often less prom- inent on rainy, cloudy or windless days because pollen does not move around during these conditions. Pollen tends to travel more with hot, dry, windy weather, which can increase allergy symptoms.


Help for Seasonal Allergies Finding the right treatment is the best method for managing your child’s aller- gies. If your seasonal allergy symptoms are making your child miserable, an allergist can help. Your allergist has the background and experience to test which pollen or mold is causing symptoms and prescribe a treatment plan to help your child feel better. T is plan may include avoiding outdoor exposure, along with medications. If symptoms continue or appear many months of the year, an al- lergist may recommend immunotherapy treatment (allergy shots). T is approach


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