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Ahh, Summer! School holidays, ice cream, paddling pools, fun in the sun and . . . hayfever!  Yep, that's right, here comes summer, but for every person that is jumping for joy, there’s another filled with dread.  The question is, is it just an adult thing or can babies get hayfever too? Well, unfortunately, the answer is yes. The symptoms are often mistaken for those of a common cold, runny nose, sneezing, coughing etc but if these are combined with itchy eyes, then there's a chance are it could be hayfever.

Should I worry?

While hayfever is not usually a cause for concern, we appreciate that it can cause discomfort to your little ones when baby hayfever strikes, so of course if you are at all worried then it’s always best to make an appointment with your GP to have them checked out for peace of mind, especially with young babies or those who can’t fully communicate as yet.  The usual allergy medication isn’t usually prescribed for those under 12 months but there may be alternatives depending on the severity of each case.

Did you know?

  • Hayfever is an allergic reaction to pollen with one in five of us suffering each year, affecting up to 30% of children.
  • It is the most common of all allergic reactions.
  • Hayfever is at an all-time high according to the Royal College of General Practitioners, with rates over and above the five-year average.
  • The UK has one of the highest numbers of hayfever sufferers in the world.

Types of hayfever

While hayfever is categorised as a general pollen allergy, it’s good to understand the different types of pollen and seasonality of each as this can be especially helpful when trying to reduce the effects of baby hayfever.  These include:

  • Tree pollen - early spring (March to May)
  • Grass pollen - late spring/early summer (May to July)
  • Weed pollen - autumn (July to September)

Top tip - Certain days and areas can be susceptible to a higher pollen count than others, so a great way of finding this information out is to check local weather forecasts if you are heading out for the day.  That way you can be fully prepared against it, or at least help to reduce it.

How can I protect against baby hayfever and hayfever in toddlers?

We all know how much children love being outdoors in the sunshine when the weather is good, so of course, we don’t want to keep them indoors unnecessarily but there are a few things we can do to help:

  • Sunglasses are fantastic for protecting against pollen, that’s if your little one will keep them on of course!
  • A change of clothes after being outside to wash away any pollen.
  • Washing their hands and face after being outside.
  • Limit exposure to pollen where possible.
  • Apply a thin layer of vaseline around the nostrils.
  • Sun hats are a must for any hayfever sufferers, they stop the pollen-collecting in their hair which can then land on their faces, so why not make it fun and let them choose their own hat, that way they will never take it off! 

Hayfever symptoms

If you suspect your little one might have hayfever, we have compiled a useful list of symptoms to look out for.  Some of which are similar to those of a common cold as mentioned earlier, but where a cold might be coupled with a temperature and last one or two weeks, hayfever doesn’t cause a temperature and usually lasts a few months around the same time every year, but as always if you have any concerns it’s always best to seek medical advice from your GP.

  • Watery, itchy eyes that may become red and sore
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Sore or itchy throat
  • Headache
  • Earache
  • Irritable 
  • Disrupted sleep therefore tiredness

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