So many children these days seem to suffer from allergies and one of the most common allergies is hay fever during the summer, whilst the common cold is apparent during the winter months.  Although research suggests that hay fever doesn’t usually affect children until they’re about seven years of age, it can start earlier and can have a huge impact on a child’s enjoyment of life, especially during the holiday and hayfever

If you suspect your child has hay fever, then the first step is to make an appointment with your local GP to get a firm diagnosis.  This is vitally important as what looks to you like hay fever could well be another allergy, such as to dust mites or pet fur.  Hay fever has defined seasonal symptoms which will appear at roughly the same time every year.  Strictly speaking, hay fever is an allergy to grass pollens, but some people can also be allergic to tree pollens which are released earlier in the growing season.  Tree pollen is usually produced in the spring when grass pollens have yet to make an appearance.  The usual culprits are hazel, birch and elder trees.

If your child is displaying allergy symptoms during July and August, then it’s probably hay fever and the symptoms may be alleviated by antihistamines (in either tablet or liquid form).  These are usually available over the counter in the UK and should be taken regularly during hay fever season (not just on the days that the symptoms are being felt).

Grass pollens are released in the early morning, rising into the air as the day heats up and then falling again in the evening when it’s cooler.  This means that the symptoms will be at their worst during the morning and evening hours.  To reduce your child’s exposure to these pollens try the following tips:

  • Buy wraparound sunglasses for your child to wear to keep the pollen away from the eyes as much as possible.
  • Keep windows closed at night to prevent pollen getting inside the house as much as possible.
  • Smear some petroleum jelly (Vaseline) on the inside of the child’s nostrils – this should trap the pollen and stop it from being inhaled.
  • Use air filters in the house where possible to prevent pollen floating in the air.
  • Keep car windows closed when driving – use the air conditioner instead if you have it.
  • Try to avoid letting your child play in fields or near large patches of grassland.
  • Wash your child’s face, hands and hair when they come back indoors from playing – try changing their clothes too, as pollen will linger on the clothing.

Get your child involved in avoiding the pollens that cause hay fever, get them into a routine that means that they suffer as little as possible.  The tips do involve a bit of effort and hassle, but it will be worth it to both the child and the family as a whole to minimise the miserable symptoms of hay fever.

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