Tips to Help Alleviate Seasonal Allergy Symptoms inChildren
According to The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne[i],seasonal allergies are very common and effect up to 30% of children. The allergy occurs when the body’s immune system reacts to an irritant in the air, such as dust, pollen, and even mould. Children who suffer from hay fever commonly experience other allergic conditions such as asthma, eczema, and food allergies.
Common symptoms of hay fever include[ii];
· red, itchy or watery eyes
· sneezing, runny or blocked nose
· itchy ears, nose or throat
· coughing, wheezing or asthma symptoms
· skin irritations and increased eczema symptoms
Common triggers include:
· pollen from grasses, flowers and trees
· dust mites
· animal fur or dander
· mould spores
How to Treat Your Child’s Seasonal Allergies
Unfortunately, there is no cure for hay fever. However, it can be managed. It’s important that you learn your child’s trigger, as left untreated it can impact your child’s sleep quality, making them tired and grumpy during the day. Learning your child’s trigger will help you avoid or minimise contact.
The first thing you should do if you suspect your child has seasonal allergies is to discuss it with your family medical practitioner. They may suggest using either over-the-counter medication to relieve your child’s symptoms, or prescribed medication. Your doctor may also order more tests or refer you to a specialist to further assess your child.
Secondly, be sure to discuss your child’s allergies with other caregivers and teachers who spend time with them outside of the home. This will ensure that an action plan can be put into place ensuring that adults that your child interacts with are aware of any allergy issues and are able to treat your child accordingly.
Ways to Minimise Your Child’s Exposure to Seasonal Allergens
Whilst it can be difficult to avoid allergens completely, there are some things you can do to minimise your child’s exposure.
Plan outdoor activities when pollen counts are low
Children love to play outside, but the unfortunate reality is that the best way to limit exposure to airborne allergens is to stay inside with windows and doors closed. However, outdoor play and exploration is important for a child’s development, so instead of avoiding it completely, try to plan outdoor activities when pollen counts are low, and engage them in indoor activities on hot, windy days when allergens are more easily spread.
Change out of clothing that could carry pollen indoors
Although invisible to the naked eye, pollen could be lurking in the fabric of your child’s clothing or on their skin and hair. To avoid this, it can be helpful to give your child a quick bath or shower after outdoor play, and change them into clean clothing.
Use air conditioners at home and in the car instead of opening windows
Although it can be nice to open windows and let in fresh air, for those with seasonal allergies that air may carry irritating allergens into the home. Instead, use air conditioners to cool your home and your car, being sure to set your car setting to ‘recirculate’ so that it isn’t bringing in air from outside. We also recommend cleaning your filters regularly.
Disclaimer: This information is intended as information only and should not be used to diagnose any illness. If you suspect that you or someone you know is unwell please consult your local GP or health provider.