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When Seasonal Allergies Become a Pollen

The Next Stage: When Seasonal Allergies Become a Pollen

We bear harsh Canadian winters for the warmth spring and summer bring us. And yet, once we finally begin experiencing hotter weather, our cyclic exposure to trees, grasses, and pollens makes us more prone to seasonal allergies. Allergies to inhaled allergens can cause allergic rhinitis with runny nose, sneezing, and congestion, as well as allergic conjunctivitis with watery and itchy eyes.

To treat allergies, many medications are available including oral antihistamines or tablets, nasal sprays, and eye drops. While antihistamines can be sedating, there are non-sedating options available for children. For example, nasal sprays and eye drops can act locally and not cause further side effects.

In addition to medication, there are many changes that can be made in the environment to diminish allergies. The following changes can help allergies without the use of medication:

  1. Pollen counts are highest at dusk and dawn. By avoiding being outdoors during these times can be helpful in diminishing symptoms.
  2. The weather report often gives a pollen count. Listen to reports to know which days to avoid being outdoors on those days.
  3. Wash clothes immediately when you return home from playing outdoors as pollen may stick to clothing.
  4. Watch for the air quality index on the weather report. Poor air quality is associated with reactive airways or asthma in association with allergies.

As summer approaches, some simple changes might help to lessen the severity of response to the allergens in the environment. Enjoy the summer and keep safe in all aspects including the annoyance of allergies.

Fiber is important for your child’s health. It helps the digestive system eliminate waste and prevent constipation. Fiber also supports satiety and decreases the risk of heart disease and stroke.

There are 2 types of fiber, insoluble and soluble. Insoluble fiber comes from plant cell walls and does not dissolve in water. It’s commonly found in wheat bran, whole grains and some vegetables. Meanwhile, soluble fiber dissolves in water and examples include oats, barley, and dried beans. Did you know? Fluid intake must be enough for fiber to work and to prevent gas and bloating.

A way to ensure your child gets enough fiber is by eating at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day, together with other foods rich in fiber. However, fiber needs vary depending on a child’s age and weight. A simple way to calculate daily requirements is by adding 5 to your child’s age to a maximum of 25 grams, which is the recommended daily fiber intake for adults. For example, a 10-year-old would need about 15 grams of fiber per day.

Fiber is easy to find if you choose your food smartly! Good sources of fiber are vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans and fiber-rich whole-grain cereals and breads. Examples of whole grains are whole wheat, brown rice, buckwheat, oatmeal, and bulgur. If your child dislikes high-fiber foods, consider increasing fiber by adding unprocessed wheat bran, which can be mixed with food. Fiber supplements are also available such as psyllium (Metamucil) or wheat dextrin (Benefiber). To determine fiber content from a nutritional label, look for “Dietary fiber”. Foods with 5 or more grams of fiber per serving are excellent sources of fiber.

If you have any questions about fiber, online resources are available through the Dieticians of Canada website. Your dietician or healthcare provider can also provide more information.

Dr. Bhooma Bhayana is a family physician in London and the mother of two young men and proud grandmother of three! She continues to find wonder and enjoyment in family practice despite more than 30 years on the job!


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