If your child can’t seem to shake off his cold even now the weather is getting warmer, it’s possible he may suffer from hay fever. While we’re all waving goodbye to those pesky winter snuffles, babies and toddlers with the first signs of hay fever will still have runny noses.
What is hay fever?
Hay fever is a common allergic reaction to pollen and causes the membranes inside the nose to become inflamed, leading to sneezing and a runny nose.
But if this is the first time your baby has suffered from hay fever, those symptoms will just look like the common cold.
What are the symptoms for babies and toddlers?
Hay fever symptoms are caused when his body has an over-reaction to an allergen – in this case, pollen – and releases the chemical, histamine. Also known as rhinitis, this seasonal allergy can appear at any age.
If your baby or toddler has it, the first sign is sneezing. He may also keep rubbing his eyes and they might seem red. There may be some discharge from his nose, but it will be watery and clear.
He might seem tired, irritable and unable to concentrate or cope with his normal routine. His symptoms might also seem worse after playing outside.
What to do if I think my toddler has hay fever?
If this sounds like your child, then consult your GP. She will ask you if your baby, or anyone else in the family, has asthma, eczema or other allergies, as this gives a higher risk of hay fever. She’ll make
a diagnosis after gently examining the inside of his nose, supported, if necessary, by allergy tests.
Hay fever is at its peak between April and September, but your child may suffer for a shorter period if he is only allergic to a particular type of pollen.
An allergy to grass pollen is the most common, and this tends to start affecting sufferers in May before calming down in July. But if he’s allergic to tree pollen, symptoms may last from April to September.
One way to help him is to reduce his exposure. Keeping a symptom diary to identify patterns of exposure will help you work out what triggers his hay fever.
Some things, such as playing near freshly mown grass, will be problematic for most children with hay fever, but you’ll find that certain things or places are tricky for your child in particular.
Treatments for hay fever:
Check the pollen count on the local weather report or by the Met Office website before planning a trip out, and avoid any trigger activities when it’s high.
1) Check the pollen count
Hot weather, windy conditions, or just after a thunderstorm can cause a spike in pollen levels. When the count is very high – more than 50 grains of pollen per cubic metre of air – you might want to consider an indoor activity.
You can also reduce the amount of pollen he comes into contact with. Smear a dab of petroleum jelly around his nostrils to trap pollen before it enters his nose.
2) Use petroleum jelly
Buy him some sunglasses to stop pollen from getting in his eyes. Shades are also a necessity to help with sun protection, too,
3) Get out the sunnies
take a picnic blanket with you everywhere you go outside, and lay it on the ground when it’s time to play, so he isn’t in direct contact with the grass.
4) Use a picnic blanket
Be sure to notice which way up you use it, and stick to this, as pollen will collect on the underside. Wash it regularly to remove it.
ollen grains will also get stuck in your little one’s clothes. So, if you come back from the park and he’s sneezing, change his outfit.
5) Regular changes
And hang washing to dry inside when the count is high.
If your little one is suffering with a blocked nose you may want to consider first an over-the-counter solution that is safe and can improve the situation while you are arranging to see a specialist, says Dr Michael Rudenko, Allergy consultant and medical director at the London Allergy and Immunology Centre.
6) Visit your pharmacy
You might be apprehensive about what is and isn’t safe to give your children and be worried about potential long term side effects, so finding the right treatment can be daunting.
7) Try a natural solution
Using natural products such as a sea water nasal spray can be beneficial and recommended by GPs and consultants to help manage symptoms as the first step of treatment process.
We like Stérimar Nasal Hygiene nasal spray, which is made from 100% natural, filtered sea water.
It not only washes away the allergens from the nose to effectively relieve symptoms, but also helps to clean and clear the nose to help restore it’s natural filtering functions and help support the body’s own natural defences from airborne allergens and contaminants.
Make sure you're following Mother & Baby on Instagram for relatable memes, inspiring stories and parenting hacks!
Join the club! Introducing our brand, spankin’ new Facebook group called #mumtribe. Simply search ‘#mumtribe’ into the search bar and meet like-minded mums, win gorgeous goodies and have some fun!