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Interactive Health
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Dealing With Triggers: Pollen

A variety of things in the environment can make asthma or allergy symptoms worse. These are called "triggers." Your doctor can help you figure out what your child's triggers are.

Pollen is a common trigger for many kids.

What Is Pollen?

Pollen is a fine powder that some plants make when they reproduce. During the spring, summer, and fall seasons, pollen is released into the air and picked up by the wind, which brings it to other plants to fertilize them.

Inside of these pollen grains are proteins that cause allergic reactions (such as sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes) when breathed in. The pollen that most people are allergic to comes from grasses, trees, and weeds.

How Can I Help My Child Deal With It?

  • Your weather forecast will give a daily pollen report. When pollen counts are high, kids should take their allergy medicine before going outdoors or avoid going outside. They should do outdoor activities later in the day, when pollen counts are lower. After playing outdoors, they should bathe or shower and change clothes.
  • Keep windows and doors shut during pollen season. If it’s hot, use air conditioning. An air purifier with a HEPA filter can also help.
  • Drive with the car windows shut and air conditioning on during pollen season.
  • Avoid letting your child mow the grass or rake leaves. If your child does work or chores outdoors, wearing an air filter mask can protect them from breathing in pollen.
  • Dry clothes in a dryer or hang inside the house, not on an outdoor clothesline.
Reviewed by: Stephen F. Dinetz, MD
Date reviewed: January 2022