Hay fever can just look like a runny nose, but can feel a lot worse.
Hay fever can just look like a runny nose, but can feel a lot worse for your child. If you’ve never had it, it can be difficult to know what’s wrong, or when to act.
What is hay fever?
Hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen or spores in the air. It is common during spring and summer when there is more pollen in the air, but people can get it at different times of the year depending on what exactly they are allergic to. According to the HSE, hay fever is estimated to affect around 20 percent of people.
Some of the signs are frequent sneezing and a runny or blocked nose. These usually come with itchy, red or watery eyes.
If you’re still not sure, listen out for complaints of an itchy throat, mouth, nose and ears.
Other, more uncommon symptoms include sweating, headaches and facial pain from sinus blockages.
While these symptoms seem mild, or like a common cold, they can create interference with sleep and schoolwork. On top of this hay fever can also cause fatigue.
While hay fever cannot be cured, the symptoms can be eased by the use of over the counter medicines such as antihistamine tablets, nasal sprays and eye drops. Consult your pharmacist or a doctor if you feel your child needs help with allergies.
Bouts of hay fever often fall on times of high pollen count. Met Eireann has a pollen forecast so you can tell when it might be best to keep everyone indoors or stock up on medicines. There was a very high pollen count in Ireland and the UK on Easter weekend, so if you noticed your child being affected by a sniffly nose then, it was likely due to hay fever.
Symptoms of asthma can also be worsened by hay fever, and can sometimes only come about because of it. If your child is coughing a lot, wheezing and is short of breath in combination with the symptoms above it could be related to hay fever.
If you find your child has these symptoms, consult a doctor as they may need an inhaler. Emergency inhalers should be available from all pharmacies if needed.
Written by Róise McGagh, Intern at Family Friendly HQ; follow her on Twitter @roisemcgagh