Probably many of us already know, allergies are one the most common chronic health conditions, which usually occurs when our body recognizes a harmless substance as a threat. Allergies are common in both adults and children.
Hay fever or allergic rhinitis is an allergic reaction caused by a number of allergens (pollen from trees, weeds, and grass; dust mites; dead parts of the skin; and pet hair). It’s very common—in fact, around 10–30% of the adults and up to 40% of the children all around the world are affected by it.
Symptoms of Hay Fever
Some of the most common symptoms are:
- Sneezing and coughing
- A runny or stuffy nose
- Pain in your temples and forehead
- Temporary loss of smell
- Itchy throat, mouth, nose, and ears
- Red and itchy eyes
- Blue and swollen eye bags
Ignoring the symptoms of hay fever can result in the condition aggravating over time, often leading to persistent tiredness, which can eventually impact their day to day activities. Sometimes hay fever can even lead to:
- Serious eye infections (children rub their eyes when they are itchy)
- A decline in learning performance, memory, and energy
- Bad breath
Types of Hay Fever
There are two types of hay fever:
1) Seasonal hay fever
Seasonal hay fever generally occurs in spring, summer, and early fall when there's a lot of pollen from grass, weeds, and trees in the air.
2) Perennial hay fever
Symptoms occur throughout the whole year and are generally caused by dust mites, pet hair, cockroaches, or mould.
How to Treat Hay Fever?
Treating hay fever is extremely important. Ignoring the symptoms for two or even three years can lead to a child having asthma or problems breathing. Apart from that, a child who has hay fever is usually less capable of staying awake and can’t concentrate on everyday activities because of tiredness.
There are a couple of things you could do to help treat hay fever. It would be best to consult a doctor, but there are also many over-the-counter medications available. Some of them are:
- Antihistamine medication (syrups, nasal sprays, and eye drops)
- Corticosteroid nasal spray or drops
- Saline nasal drops/rinses to flush out pollen from the nose
- Eye drops to help ease inflammation and itching
- Nasal decongestants
Is There a Way to Prevent Hay Fever?
Limiting exposure to pollen other allergens is one of the most important steps in preventing hay fever. However, with the lockdown already restricting the children’s outdoor activities, it could be more difficult than ever to deprive them of their occasional outdoor trips or little adventures in the garden. But it would be best to limit their time spent outside in spring and summer due to pollen from the grass and trees. The symptoms can worsen on hot and windy days.
What other things you should do:
- Check the pollen forecast before planning outdoor activities
- Make sure the children change into clean clothes as soon as they get home as pollen clings to clothes
- Encourage them to take a shower or bath before bed to prevent transferring any pollen from their hair or body to their bedding
- Avoid eye-rubbing
- Encourage them to wear wraparound sunglasses when going out to prevent pollen from getting in their eyes
- Avoid keeping fresh flowers in the house
- Keep windows closed on the days when the pollen count is high
- Smear vaseline inside their nostrils to reduce pollen inhalation
The Bottom Line
Hayfever is most prevalent from March to September when the pollen count is at its highest. Although there is no specific treatment for the condition, the symptoms can be eased with many over-the-counter medications and by limiting the children's exposure to pollen and other allergens. However, make sure you seek medical attention if symptoms persist.
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