Back to school fall allergies

CLEVELAND CLINIC - It's officially the first day of fall, and ragweed season has started just as kids are settling back at school.

Dr. Sandra Hong is an allergist at Cleveland Clinic. She says studies have shown that kids who suffer from allergies at school may have a hard time concentrating in the classroom.

"They're either not sleeping well at nighttime or during the day all they can be focused on is the fact they can't breathe through their nose, their itchy eyes, itchy ears, their nose is dripping constantly running, and they're sneezing their heads off," says Dr. Hong.

Dr. Hong says relief starts at home, so it's important to reduce allergens in your house by keeping windows closed and the air conditioning on, if possible.

Avoid drying towels and bedding outdoors because these items can bring pollen indoors.

Dr. Hong recommends a child with seasonal allergies change clothes after school and take a shower to help wash off pollen.

She says children with moderate to severe allergies will need allergy medicine to ease symptoms.

Over-the-counter nasal sprays can help, as well as non-sedating antihistamines.

And allergy medications work best when taken before the allergy season starts, so, if your child has ragweed allergies, Dr. Hong recommends starting allergy medication when you start shopping for school supplies.

Nasal sprays need to be taken daily to work best, but an antihistamine can be taken as needed and can provide same day relief in about an hour.

Dr. Hong says doing a sinus rinse can bring relief too.

"The pollens are just coating the nose area and the back of your throat. If you can rinse that out your symptoms will definitely be better," says Dr. Hong.

If itchy eyes at recess are an issue, Dr. Hong says tight-fitting glasses may keep the pollen out and help your child's symptoms.