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Hay Fever: Brief Version


What is hay fever?

Hay fever is an allergy to pollen in the air. Your child probably has hay fever if:

  • There is a clear discharge from your child's nose,
  • AND your child's nose itches,
  • AND your child sneezes and sniffs.
  • Your child's eyes may also itch and water or look pink.

Here are the months of the year you may expect problems with hay fever:

  • In April and May, the most common pollen is from trees.
  • In June and July, most of the time it is from grass.
  • From August until the first frost, ragweed pollen is the big problem.

Animal fur and other things could cause your child's hay fever.

How can I take care of my child?

Give your child an antihistamine.

  • This medicine works best for hay fever.
  • Your child's doctor will tell you what you should use.
  • If your child has hay fever every day, it's a good idea to give him the antihistamine all during the pollen season.

Nasal sprays

  • Your doctor may prescribe a nasal spray.

Nasal washes

  • You can use warm water or saltwater nosedrops to wash pollen out of the nose. Put 2 or 3 drops in each nostril. Then have your child blow his nose.

Shower your child and wash his hair every night before bed.

  • This will clean away the pollen. Your child should have fewer symptoms at night.

Help your child stay away from pollen and other things that may cause hay fever.

  • Make sure your child stays away when someone cuts grass.
  • Your child should stay indoors when it is windy or if there is a lot of pollen in the air.
  • Make sure your child stays away from anything that causes his hay fever.

Wash your child's itchy or watery eyes.

  • Wash your child's face and eyelids with water. That will clean away any pollen.
  • Put a cold wet cloth on your child's eyelids for 10 minutes.

Call your child's doctor during office hours if:

  • The hay fever does not get better after your child takes medicine for 2 days.
  • Your child gets sinus pain or pressure.
  • You have other questions or concerns.

Written by B.D. Schmitt, MD, author of "Your Child's Health," Bantam Books.
Published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2008-08-11
Last reviewed: 2010-06-02

This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a health care professional.

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