Hay fever, or allergic rhinitis as it’s also known, is an allergic condition that causes inflammation of the nose. It affects more boys than girls and can develop before adulthood. It can be a distressing condition, especially for younger children and babies, but there are ways you can help to alleviate the symptoms.
Are you sure they have hay fever?
Hay fever rarely affects those under the age of five so it could be that your little one has a cold instead. The symptoms of hay fever and the common cold are very similar, so it’s important to know which one your child has so you can choose the right treatment.
The hay fever symptoms to look out for
Hay fever usually strikes between March and September, during pollen season. The worst times of day are usually early in the morning and from around 5pm – 7pm. Sunny days are typically when the pollen count is at its highest but symptoms can persist for many weeks and months.
If your child has hay fever they may display the following symptoms:
- Red, itchy and watery eyes
- A runny, blocked or stuffy nose
If they have a cold rather than hay fever they are likely to have a temperature as well.
How to reduce your child’s exposure to pollen
Sadly, there are no remedies for hay fever but there are a number of things you can try to lessen the impact hay fever has on your child’s wellbeing.
- Smear HayMax Kids Pollen Barrier inside their nostrils to reduce how much pollen they inhale. You can also put some around the bones of their eyes. This natural, organic, drug-free pollen barrier balm can be used from birth.
- To soothe their eyes, you can gently wipe them with cotton wool soaked in cold water.
- Keep your windows at home and in the car closed, especially at the worst times of day (early morning and 5pm – 7pm).
- Limit the amount of time they spend outside playing and try to entertain them indoors on days when the pollen count is high or it’s windy.
- When they come inside, get them to change their clothes and wipe their face, hands and hair with a damp cloth.
- Clothes should be dried inside on airers as pollen can stick to clothes that are dried outside on washing lines.
- Give them wraparound sunglasses to wear to prevent pollen from going into their eyes.
- Instead of going to the countryside for days out, opt for a visit to the coast as pollen counts are lower.
- If you have a dog or cat at home, try to brush them outside before they enter your home and wipe them down with a damp towel.
If their hay fever isn’t treated, it could lead to other conditions such as asthma,  sinusitis (infection of the sinuses) and otitis media (middle ear infection).
For further help and advice, make an appointment to see your GP. They may be able to prescribe some medications, eye drops and nasal sprays that are suitable, but this will depend on the age of your child.
For more health and wellbeing advice make sure you check out our Health Hub.