If you've noticed your little one sniffling, sneezing, and rubbing their itchy eyes, don't worry – you're not alone. Hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis, affects kids, and here's your guide to help them find relief:
What exactly is hay fever?
It's an allergic reaction to pollen, typically from grasses, trees, and weeds. Ireland's gorgeous but grass-filled landscape makes it ripe for the aul pollen production, and approximately 1 in 5 Irish people suffer from hay fever. That's around 20% of the population – Kleenex are out there kleening up.
Symptoms of hay fever symptoms are very similar in adults as they are in children: Watch out for constant sneezing, runny or blocked nose, itchy throat and watery eyes. If your child seems to show these signs more during spring and summer, it might just be hay fever.
Tips for helping them find relief
Limit outdoor time: Pollen counts are usually higher in the morning and evening, so try to keep outdoor activities to a minimum during those times. Clean up: Regularly dust and vacuum your home to reduce indoor allergens. Pollen can attach itself to clothes, so maybe get your child to change clothes and wash their face and hands after outdoor play. Use saline spray: Saline nasal sprays or rinses can help clear out pollen from the nasal passages and provide relief. Allergy-proof their room: Invest in allergen-proof pillowcases and mattress covers. Keep windows closed during high pollen days and consider using an air purifier. Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water can help thin mucus and soothe irritated throats. Consult a doctor: If symptoms persist or significantly impact your child's quality of life, it's time to consult your GP. If you've the GP card for under 6s, it'll be free. They might recommend antihistamines or other medications.
Oh and by the way, that 'local honey' thing... There's precious little science to back that up. So while we're definitely gonna advise you to buy local honey, we're not promising it'll help as much as the above will with symptom relief.