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Here are some hay fever hacks to help children cope with the symptoms of hay fever.
Hay fever hacks to ease symptoms in kids
Hay fever is hard going for all of us who suffer from it.
But kids can have a particularly hard time with this seasonal allergy.
Especially on school days.
Even more so during exams.
Coping with all the symptoms of hay fever whilst trying to study can be totally miserable.
So, it’s down to us parents to try and find hay fever relief for our children.
It’s a tough job.
I know first hand, because my daughter, currently aged 9, has been suffering with hay fever for four years.
It’s getting more pronounced each year.
So each year, along with taking her to the GP for a review, I look for new hay fever hacks to minimise her symptoms.
I’ve put together a checklist of the hacks and tips I’ve discovered that can help minimise the symptoms of hay fever and make school days a little more bearable.
Before you get to that I’ve done a quick roundup of what hay fever is and the main symptoms.
What is hay fever?
Hay fever is an allergic response where the cells lining the nose become oversensitive to pollen and release chemicals such as histamines.
The histamines inflame the nose (rhinitis) and eyes (conjunctivitis).
A clinical review in the BMJ says that allergic rhinitis in general can seriously reduce a child’s quality of life, including how well they do at school.
The main symptoms of hay fever
The typical symptoms of hay fever include:
- Runny or blocked nose
- Itchy, red or watery eyes
- Itchy throat, mouth, nose and ears
- Coughing or tightness in the chest
Hay fever medication
M (currently aged 9) takes a non-drowsy antihistamine in liquid form.
That said, she is definitely more drowsy than when she doesn’t take the medication.
She also has prescription eye-drops but, even aged 9, doesn’t like having them put in, so we use them rarely.
UPDATE: A friend just recommended Optrex Acti-Mist for itchy watery eyes to us. It’s brilliant! See point 8 below for more details.
It is of course essential to speak to your GP / doctor before medicating your child for hay fever.
You may also decide that medicating is not the way you want to handle your child’s hay fever.
So, medication aside, what can us parents do to support our children who suffer from hay fever?
Hay fever support for schoolchildren
Practical measures to reduce exposure to pollen can help, but we have to remember to take action and do them.
Here are some really useful hacks and tips that may help lighten the load of the average hay fever-suffering child.
Related: How to treat nettle stings
HAY FEVER HACKS FOR CHILDREN
1. Establish the type of hay fever
Try to establish which type of hay fever you have so you can prepare for it to hit:
The pollen season in the UK separates into three main sections.
- Tree pollen – late March to mid-May
- Grass pollen – mid-May to July
- Weed pollen – end of June to September
2. Daily pollen forecast
Do a daily morning pollen forecast check, just so you know how to plan for the day ahead.
Most local weather services let you know the pollen count.
3. Keep doors and windows shut
Pollen levels are highest in the early morning and early evening, so keep windows and doors shut.
This includes car windows – get that air-con on instead.
4. Stay inside when the pollen count is very high
Your child should stay inside when the pollen count is very high.
Speak to your child’s school about the importance of this happening.
See more details at the end of this post about what schools can do to help.
5. Block it out
Rub a little vaseline, or similar, under the nose and just inside each nostril to act as a barrier that catches pollen before it disappears up the nose.
6. Shield the eyes
Get your child to wear sunglasses, even after sundown, to stop pollen getting into their eyes.
Wraparound sunglasses are best, but you may find yourself negotiating with style-conscious kiddos!
7. Discourage rubbing eyes
Now this is a tricky one.
It’s a reflex action to want to rub your eyes when they are sore and itchy.
But it only makes things worse.
So find ways to dissuade your child from rubbing their eyes.
Encourage them to wash their face if they suffering a bad case of itchy eyes.
Or use eye-drops if they can handle them being applied.
8. Use a good eye spray for itchy eyes
A friend who is a hay fever sufferer recently told us she uses Optrex ActiMist for itchy eyes.
M started using the spray a week ago and it’s made SUCH a difference to her eyes.
The spray ‘s far easier for a child to use / to use on a child than the eye drops we were prescribed.
The only downside is it doesn’t smell brilliant. M says it smells like crisps, I thought it a bit like oven-chips!!
However, the smell goes within seconds.
You can buy Optrex ActiMist for Itchy Watery Eyes from most good chemists and supermarkets.
9. Wash it off
Pollen sticks on hair and skin.
So, wash your child’s face as soon as you are back in the house after being outside.
Pay particular attention to washing around the eyes.
10. Tie long hair back
Pollen can stick to hair.
So your choice is to wash their hair daily.
Tie their hair back.
11. Change clothes after being outside
Change your child’s clothes after they’ve spent time outside.
Otherwise pollen that has stuck to the clothes can continue to irritate them.
12. Dry laundry inside
There is something so lovely about freshly laundered clothes and bedding aired outside.
But pollen can stick to the laundry and then be carried inside.
So if there is a hay fever sufferer in the home, dry laundry inside throughout the hay fever season.
Particularly your child’s bedding.
13. Locally-made honey
Find locally-made honey and start eating a small amount of it daily.
Apparently, by exposing the body to local pollen, it is thought it will become less sensitive to that particular type of pollen over time.
We are just about to start experimenting with this, so I will do an update on how it goes for us.
M point-blank refused to eat honey the last time I tried.
So, I ate the honey.
It was lovely!
14. Visit the seaside
A holiday or day-trip to the seaside relieves symptoms because pollen counts are lower there.
So, if you’re close enough and have the time, bundle the kids in the car or onto the train and get to the coast.
I guess if you’re really dedicated to the cause, you could up sticks and move your family to live beside the sea!
15. What can schools do to help children with hay fever
Speak to your child’s teacher or school coordinator about how the school can support your child.
Things the teachers and school can do to help include:
- Encouraging your child to wash their hands after playing outside to get rid of pollen.
- Keeping classroom windows shut on high pollen count days. Or, if they need to be open, seating children with hay fever well away from the windows.
- Allowing children to stay in at break if their symptoms are particularly bad.
If you have a child suffering from hay fever, especially for the first time this year, you have my total sympathy and empathy.
It really isn’t fun for them.
Plus it really isn’t easy for us parents.
So, I hope this checklist of simple hacks you can use is of some help.
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Luci is the founder of Mums Make Lists (Est. 2011). Over the last decade or so, she has used her experience as a mum to create useful guides to organising family life. During that time, she has found the most joy in creating lists of ideas and inspiration to make it easier for busy parents to plan and host kids’ parties and find great gifts. Read more.