Everything You Need To Know About Childhood Hay Fever

Watching your children struggle with hay fever during the summer can be heartbreaking. It's so important to know the facts.

Speaking as a parent of a child who suffers from severe hay fever, I am well experienced in understanding the annoyance of having a kid who is sniffling when the sun is shining.

While the summer brings days out and fun outside, for some, summer is a hindrance with their hay fever. Having hay fever can be anything from light to much heavier and it is always best to get your child checked out by a doctor, especially if your child is not responding to over the counter treatments. 

Firstly, what are the symptoms?

Eye soreness - itchy, red and puffy eyes.
Nasal discharge and sinus congestion.
Itchy ears and itchy/sore skin.
Tickly throat.
Reduced sense of smell.
Reduced hearing and ears popping.
Fatigue and exhaustion.
Changes in eating habits.
Itchy and sore mouth.

Many people suffer from hay fever and for a lot of kiddies, they can manage it with over the counter medicine. For others, however, medical attention is required. As mentioned, seeing a doctor will help you to decide on what is the best course of action for your child.  Boy sneezing into a tissue

What causes Hay Fever? 

Hay fever is produced by tree pollen in the spring, and grass pollen in the summer. It is carried in the air and makes hay fever sufferers miserable. Like most allergies, hay fever is reacting to the allergy and the body assumes it is under attack! There are no known reasons for developing hay fever, but we do know that if someone has hay fever, they could have eczema and asthma, so it is always good to check in with your doctor if your child is displaying a range of symptoms.

It usually rears its head in mid-summer, but it can start earlier depending on the pollen. Two types of pollen cause hay fever – grass and tree. If the weather is a good summer, it could make the months a terrible ordeal for hay fever sufferers unless they get their symptoms under control with medication. 

What can parents do?

One of the easiest ways to treat hay fever is to reduce the contact with pollen. Surprisingly, pollen production is at its highest in the morning and evening, so it is advised to stay indoors. However, for kids who want to be active, this is a nightmare solution. Regular showers help as pollen sticks to the body. Wash clothes frequently as well as keeping windows closed to block out pollen. Vaseline added to the bottom of the nose can keep the pollen out and a good pair of sunglasses.

If your child continues to have symptoms (more than two days) or is severe, please consult your GP. Keep an eye on the weather for pollen counts and teach your child about their illness and how to take precautions. Avoid fields and keep your child away from smoke as passive smoking aggravates sufferers. For days out, opt for seaside breaks away from pollen and never sleep with the windows open, as well as keeping car windows closed while your child is in the car. 

Emma Hayes

Emma Hayes is a busy mum to two girls aged 17 and 11 and is married to her childhood sweetheart.

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