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Hay fever in children, what can be done?

by Owen Wiseman, H.BSc., on 7 September 2017, Allergies, Children's Health
hay fever

Is your child constantly rubbing their eyes? Sneezing, especially when outside? Is their nose runny or blocked? And have you noticed if any of these seem to be worse on sunny days? Then it could be hayfever!

Also known as allergic rhinitis, hay fever is an immune response triggered by the various pollens released by local trees and plants as they begin to bloom. At first, you may think your little one has picked up a common cold at school as hay fever often presents with sniffles, a stuffy, runny nose, and sneezing, but if these symptoms begin to show around the same time each year, seasonal allergies are the likely culprit.

The physical symptoms are not the only consequence of hay fever as children may have difficulty focusing in class and feel irritable or fatigued, with severe hay fever leading to the possibility of missing school.

Histamines, naturally occurring compounds in the body, are responsible for creating the symptoms of hay fever. They consider the allergen particles entering the body to be foreign invaders and mount an attack leading to inflammation.

What is my first step?

It is important to bring your child to your primary care provider so they can be sent to an allergist to get tested. If the allergens causing their symptoms can be identified, they can be better managed.

Ways to manage your child’s symptoms this season

  • Grab some green. Many allergy friendly plants are known to have air purifying effects such as Dracaena, Bamboo Palm, and Lady Palm. These can help control chemicals and allergens present in the air, and keep your little one breathing better.
  • Scrub-a-dub-dub! Having your youngster walk into the house with their muddy shoes, unkempt hair, and clothes so dirty they leave you scratching your head is a common sight for parents. Along with the dirt comes particles of pollen that stick to their skin and clothes, so encourage them to wash their hair and body while you brainstorm how to get their whites white again.
  • Track those sniffles. Technology has eased the burden of seasonal allergies with apps that allow you to log your child’s symptoms, view daily pollen counts in your area, and even receive alerts when the counts are high so you can plan some indoor activities.
  • Prepare early. Starting to prepare for allergy season up to a month in advance through the use of products such as Allergy Relief, available in liquid, tab, and a spray form, can provide some symptomatic relief.
  • Boost your immune system! Our kids spend their summer days burning through vitamin stores and calories, and it is important to make sure they are keeping their engines fueled. Ensuring they maintain appropriate levels in their system involves eating a healthy diet. Foods such as citrus fruits, leafy greens, red bell peppers, fish, and garlic are a few ways to introduce some important vitamins into your kids system. Another option is the Hayfever Blasting smoothie which comes packed with vitamin C and natural antihistamines that keep the allergic reaction down, not to mention that it tastes delicious!

References:
http://www.aaia.ca/en/allergy_season.htm
http://www.aafa.org/page/AllergyPREP.aspx
http://acaai.org/news/facts-statistics/allergies
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24488258
http://www.webmd.com/allergies/best-worst-plants
http://www.webmd.com/allergies/understanding-hay-fever-basics

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