Natural treatments useful for seasonal allergies in children.
There are many natural solutions to treat and prevent seasonal allergies in children.
But first, what exactly is an allergy? It is basically an inappropriate response of your child’s immune system to a substance that is normally harmless.
The symptoms of an allergic response—runny nose, itchy watery eyes, sneezing, coughing, and nasal congestion—are their body’s attempt to rid itself of the offending allergen.
Allergic reactions, however, are completely unnecessary. They serve no protective function. They do not protect your child against viruses, infections, or diseases, and are simply a misguided reaction to a harmless protein that your child has come into contact with from air, food, or touch.
Virtually any substance can provoke an allergic reaction. One of the most common offenders at this time of year is pollen. Pollen is so small that can’t you see it, but you inhale it when you breathe. On its way in through your nose and throat, some of the pollen gets stuck and releases its proteins. It is these little proteins that are responsible for triggering an allergic reaction in children who are susceptible.
Given that these reactions serve no useful purpose, what can be done? Well, I suggest that you start with these three important steps:
Eliminate dairy from your child’s diet including milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream. For many children,this one change can make the biggest impact in reducing their allergy symptoms. As good as they may taste, dairy foods thicken mucus and actually increase mucus production in the nose and sinuses. This reaction will aggravate sinus congestion and respiratory symptoms, but it is also a significant risk factor for ear infections in children.
Consider vitamin C, a natural antihistamine. Histamine is one of the substances produced by the body that contributes to your child’s allergic symptoms. Whereas antihistamine medications work by affecting histamine after it has already been produced, vitamin C works to prevent the formation of histamine in the first place.
Try a soothing herbal tea. Herbs can be extremely beneficial in reducing congestion, supporting your child’s immune system, and soothing their respiratory system. Some of the best herbs for this purpose include fenugreek, thyme, nettle, and/or dandelion root. For children, try adding some local raw honey (for children over the age of one). Local honey offers several benefits for seasonal allergies and it is a great way to sweeten the tea.
Keep these recommendations in mind for next year and start them well before spring arrives. This may help to prevent, or at least reduce, your child’s seasonal allergies.
Tracy Gilbert is a naturopathic doctor who offers family naturopathic health care at Ezentials, Natural Health Centre and Spa, in Hanmer. For more information, visit www.ezentials.ca or phone 705.969.0043.