My daughter can’t pass up a grassy hill. She loves running up and down them. She loves throwing herself into them, rolling down, gaining speed and landing in a heap of laughter. As she approaches her pre-teen years, I love watching it, knowing that this playfulness, this childlike experience of joy in nature is likely fleeting.

The only thing is: she’s allergic to grass. Each time she bikes past someone cutting a lawn, she holds her breath. Yet, she hurls herself with abandon into a hill near a playground that’s just been cut, the scent of fresh grass clippings hanging heavy in the air. I warn her – but it’s hard to stop the forces of childhood and gravity. Each time, she’ll stand up, knock the clippings of her shorts, and start itching within minutes.

The rash my daughter develops after rolling in the grass is a contact allergy. After many years and trips to the pediatrician and allergist, I’ve learned to get her in a lukewarm shower as soon as she gets home. The faster we wash off the pollen, pet dander, or whatever else is causing her rash, the better.

If you’re a parent looking to stock the medicine cabinet for spring with cute bandages, antibacterial spray and ointments, you should also purchase some non-irritating soap, and keep cortisone cream on hand at all times. We can’t stop them from being kids – and wouldn’t want to – but we can help stop the itch.

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