Ask Katherine: Now that my kids are back in school, their allergies are going crazy. Is it a seasonal thing or do you think it’s something else?

Well, the kids have been in school for a few weeks now… no more summer frolicking at the pool, beach and summer camps. For those with children, it’s all about the daily structure of school: carpooling, school lunches, after school activities and sports, and homework.

This time of year, late summer and early fall, is also the height of ragweed season. With children back in a classroom environment, for typically 6 hours or more a day, they definitely have more to sneeze at than just ragweed!

As anyone who lives with allergies can attest to, a school building can be a minefield of allergens.

New carpeting, furniture and wall paints, as well as janitorial cleaning products, can release volatile organic compounds (known as outgassing) into the air your child breathes. Furry classroom pets can also release dander, and leaky classrooms and bathrooms can harbor mold. And don’t forget about dust!

When you add in exposure to environmental factors found in playing fields and lunchroom areas, the mix of potential allergens your child may be exposed to can create a disruption for your child’s immune system and their school routine.

The most common allergens children are exposed to in the fall are:

  1. Ragweed. This pollen is easily the biggest fall inhalant allergy culprit, for children and adults alike. Ragweed pollinates in August and continues for well over a month, and the pollen can travel long distances. If your child suffers from fall allergies, ragweed is the number one suspect.
  2. Mold. Spores can accumulate in damp areas of the home or school. Since children spend more time inside during the fall season, they are highly susceptible to mold and other indoor allergens. Mold is also abundant on and underneath wet leaves: be aware of this when your child wants to tumble in that pile of leaves as part of autumn outdoor fun.
  3. Trees. There are certain trees that pollinate in the fall that are potential allergens. One of these is a type of sumac tree; you will see big bunches of pollen literally dripping from its branches and floating in the air in the autumn months.
  4. Food Allergies. In addition to exposure to a myriad of inhalants, back to school means school lunches. So, you pack your child a healthy lunchbox… only to find out they happily traded their healthy food for their friends’ food, usually stuff they don’t normally eat at home.

These items typically are in the “junk food” category, laced with preservatives, food dyes and artificial chemicals. Think about this if your child comes home with stomachaches or rashes.

Allergy or Sensitivity?

When we hear the word “allergy,” most of us think of sneezing, itchy red eyes and a stuffed up, runny nose. This type of “allergy” is often called hay fever or seasonal allergies. It keeps medical allergists busy in the spring and fall, as the suffering throngs get scratch tests and seek relief from their misery via shots and pills.

A true allergy occurs when your child’s immune system makes an antibody to something it mistakenly thinks is bad for her/him. For something to be called an “allergy,” one’s body must make an antibody to it, and if it doesn’t, it’s called a “sensitivity.”

In the case of an inhalant sensitivity (to dust, pollen…), your doctor would typically recommend either shots or medication (prescription or over the counter). The shots route, although successful, especially for inhalant sensitivities, may require injections for your child every week or two for a year or longer.

Another medical recommendation for handling sensitivity symptoms would be avoiding the offending substance. But how do you do that when your child is playing outdoors in a pollen-filled environment or sitting in a classroom inhaling mold spores or chemicals?

At Chesapeake Holistic, we offer another solution: a bioenergetic desensitization method for identifying and clearing sensitivities through an elimination program known as BioClear.

BioClear utilizes a galvanic skin response program, which can quickly and easily evaluate your child’s sensitivities to the environmental inhalants that may be causing their symptoms.

The inhalant treatment program includes testing and clearing of sensitivities, within each of the following categories:

  • Phenolics (chemical compounds)
  • Trees
  • Grasses
  • Weeds
  • Dust
  • Flowers
  • Mold/Fungus
  • Fumes
  • Epidermals (skin irritations)
  • Local samples/household chemicals

This season, take advantage of our BioClear Back to School / Fall Special for children and adults: $285 for the initial evaluation and $95 per follow-up clearing session. Call 410.349.9043 to book.


Katherine Sale, MSW, MAc, LAc, CNC
Katherine is a Licensed, Board-Certified Acupuncturist, a Holistic Healthcare Practitioner, an Integrative Energy Therapies Provider, and an Advanced BioClear Practitioner.