Is your child allergic to school?

By Haley Hernandez - Health Reporter

Eleven-year-old Reagan Ensminger might be the only sixth-grader in Houston to say about middle school, "The good thing is, maybe bad, but we don't have recess."

Being outside too long triggers her allergies, which she said are worse at the beginning of the school year.

"I'm allergic to all grasses, all trees, pollen, so it bothers me most, like, a really long bike ride, like, under a bunch of trees," Ensminger said. "Let's say I go into a library, and I go in the corner of the library. Then, I'll sneeze there because of the dust and all of the old stuff there."

Dr. Joel Anthis said back-to-school time is when parents might be able to spot whether or not their children have environmental allergies because classrooms have been sitting idle, gathering dust, and maybe mold, and, of course, students are bringing in stuff from outside too.

"A child is always having to breathe through their mouth -- that can be one symptom of allergies. A child that is certainly more obviously (struggling with allergies) if they're having itchy, watery eyes or watery nose or using a Kleenex all the time," Anthis said.

If you notice these symptoms, he recommends over-the-counter antihistamines, such as non-drowsy Claritin, or nasal steroids, such as Flonase. If those don't work, your child may need a prescription medication or traditional allergy shots.

Ensminger said her schedule is too busy for her to make weekly visits for allergy shots.

"I do recorder here and there, softball, travel softball, travel soccer," she said.

Instead, she uses drops to treat her allergies. Anthis said allergy drops are a type of immunotherapy that trains the body to fight off the allergens.

"There were drops or the shots. No shots for me today. I hate shots, hate needles," Ensminger said.

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