DETROIT – Some students in Metro Detroit have already returned to school, and the rest will soon follow. But could your child actually be allergic to school?
It sounds like the ultimate excuse, but experts said heading back to class can trigger allergy symptoms in many students. Doctors said going back to school can basically be the perfect storm for allergy sufferers. It's bad enough that ragweed pollen is ramping up, but then you add in dusty classrooms, bus fumes and countless other factors.
Reagan Ensminger, 11, said being outside too long triggers her allergies, which tend to be worse at the beginning of the school year.
"The good thing is, maybe bad, but we don't have recess anymore," Reagan said. "Let's say I go into a library and I go in the corner of the library or so, then I'll sneeze there, because of the dust and all of the old stuff."
Classroom triggers include dust mites, mold and even chalk dust.
Dr. Joel Anthis said some parents might notice a child suffering allergy symptoms for the first time around when school begins.
"A child is always having to breathe through their mouth," Anthis said. "That can be one symptom of allergies. A child that is certainly more obvious if they're having itchy, watery eyes or a watery nose or using a Kleenex all the time."
Anthis said you can try over-the-counter anti-histamines such as non-drowsy Claritin, or nasal steroids such as Flonase. But if those don't work, see your child's doctor.
Reagan is trying a type of immunotherapy that trains her body to fight off all the allergens. It's available in drops instead of shots.
"There were drops or the shots," Reagan said. "No shots for me today. I hate shots, hate needles."
Doctors said back-to-school time is particularly tough for children with allergies and asthma. In addition to suffering symptoms, they're also more likely to catch the upper respiratory infections that go around when students get back together in close quarters.