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How can I treat hay fever in children?

The most effective treatment for your child is to try and avoid the allergen. Some air conditioner filters can remove 99% of airborne pollen. Face masks, like those worn by surgeons can also significantly reduce the amount of allergens you inhale whilst outdoors.
 
It is a good idea for children with eye allergies to wear goggle-type sunglasses to protect from pollen. If your child is exposed to pollen, wash his eyes with water.  Use a cool compress to relieve eye symptoms.
 
Speak to your child’s GP about over-the-counter and prescription medicines that can provide relief.
 
Effective medicine therapies for hay fever include antihistamines. These work by blocking the chemical that causes symptoms. Cromoglicate prevents the mast cells (a type of blood cell) from releasing histamine, which decrease swelling and inflammation.
 
Antihistamines
Non-prescription antihistamines are generally effective for treating milder cases of hay fever. Antihistamines work by blocking the effects of histamine, thereby relieving and preventing hay fever symptoms. Some antihistamines can cause drowsiness so they should not be taken with other medications that have the same effect.
 
Decongestants
 Over-the-counter decongestants (tablets, drops or sprays) help unblock nasal passages and improve breathing. It is important however, to only use them for a few days as after this they can begin to have the opposite effect. They can also become addictive.
 
Cromoglicate
This medication inhibits one of the cell types involved in the allergic reaction. Unlike some other medicines, the effects of cromoglicate take approximately two weeks to be felt. On the plus side, it is used for long-term treatment and has few side effects.
 
Steroid nasal sprays
Prescription nasal sprays can effectively limit reactions to allergens.
 
Saline nose sprays
Salt-water saline nose sprays help clean out allergens caught in the nasal passages and keep the passages moist.
 
Eye drops
All of the medicines mentioned above also come in eye-drop form to relieve allergy-related eye problems.
Before giving your child any over-the-counter medicines, discuss them with your child’s GP. It is important to make sure that the medicine is suitable and that it doesn’t interfere with any other medicines your child may be taking.  
 
 
How to reduce your child's exposure to pollens:
  • Keep windows closed at night so pollen doesn’t enter the house.
  • Buy your child a pair of wrap-around sunglasses to stop pollen entering their eyes.
  • Rub petroleum jelly around the inside of your child’s nose to trap pollen and stop it from being inhaled.
  • Wash your child’s hair, face and hands when they come back indoors. Changing their clothes is also beneficial.
  • Don’t let them play in fields or large areas of grassland.
  • Use air filters to try to reduce pollen that's floating around the house.
  • Keep the car windows shut when driving.
Find out more about hayfever

More questions

Once you have established your toddler has a slight fever, there are a number of measures you can take to keep it under control
If your toddler has a slight fever, there are a number of measures you can take to keep it under control.
The average body temperature should be between 35°C and 37°C.
 
While a fever can be treated, it's important to keep in mind that fevers are usually the symptom of an illness and not the illness itself.
A body’s temperature is controlled by a part of the brain called the hypothalamus.
 
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