Hay fever typically affects children at 7 years old while older children and teenagers are more susceptible to the allergy than the adults. The symptoms of hay fever include runny nose and itchy eyes that can be quite distressing for children that find it difficult to manage.
Hay fever has distinct seasonal symptoms that occur at the same time every year. It is recommended to consult a doctor so that a diagnosis of hay fever can be given due to its similarities with other allergies.
Indications of hay fever in children
Take note that hay fever frequently affects children at school. Oftentimes, the condition can be confused with a virus. The ideal way to tell the difference is the time frame the symptoms last. In case it is a virus, it must only last for 1-2 weeks.
Remember that viruses rarely persist for several weeks. If the child ends up with constant runny nose and sneezing throughout the day but not during the winter, it is an indication that he/she is allergic or highly sensitive to something.
Diagnosing hay fever
It is vital to have the child properly assessed by a doctor so that it can be treated and preventive measures are taken. If the child experiences symptoms all year round and not certain if it is hay fever, consult a doctor for a proper diagnosis. The child might have perennial allergic rhinitis.
Management of hay fever
In case the child does not like to take tablets, antihistamines are readily available as liquid. Other alternatives are the steroid nasal sprays. In some cases, eye drops can be useful if the eye symptoms are one of the indicative symptoms of allergic rhinitis.
How to administer eye drops
- Carefully read the instructions in advance to avoid introducing more irritants and increasing the risk for infection.
- The child should lie down and gently pull the lower lid down when administering the eye drops.
- Older children can sit in a chair while the drops are administered while leaning back and looking up.
- Once a drop is added gently into the eye, the child will blink naturally as a reflex and might find it initially uncomfortable.
- When administering eye drops to young children, it is useful to provide something as a distraction.
- Older children should be praised after administering the medication. Mentioning to others how the child is coping while they are present can increase their self-esteem and make them more compliant.
Prevention of hay fever symptoms
Always bear in mind that pollen is usually released in the early morning. Once the air starts to warm up, pollen is transported up above our heads. When evening sets in and the air starts to cool down, the pollen comes back down. This simply means that the symptoms are worse early in the morning and early evening, especially on days that are sunny and warm. There are various ways to minimize exposure to pollen such as the following:
- Always keep windows closed at nighttime so that pollen will not enter the house.
- Keep the windows of vehicles closed while driving.
- Look for a pair of wraparound sunglasses for children to prevent the entry of pollen into the eyes.
- Utilize air filters to minimize pollen that floats around the house.
- Apply petroleum jelly around the interior of the nose to ensnare pollen and prevent it from being inhaled.
- Do not allow the child to play in fields or wide areas of grassland.
- The hair, face and hands must be washed after spending time outdoors and change into new clothes.