Summer time allergies can prevent the whole family from getting out and enjoying the sun, that’s why it is good to know what to expect from allergic reactions and how to deal with them.
Hayfever is a seasonal allergic reaction to pollen and it affects approximately 18% of children. Most commonly when people complain of hayfever symptoms the main causative agents are pollens from trees and grasses. The season can therefore last from March to September depending on the allergen.
The common symptoms include:
Stuffy or watery nose, sneezing, itchy or watery eyes, headaches, tiredness and a general feeling of congestion. A child may be constantly wiping their nose, have dark circles under their eyes, complain of a tickly throat, be more irritable or tired and cough.
Hayfever symptoms if left untreated can lead to more serious problems like sinus infections, ear infections, even pneumonia and it is worth knowing that it is a risk factor for developing asthma later on in life.
Firstly, it is important to know that it is actually hayfever that you or your child is suffering from and this should be diagnosed by a medical professional who is familiar with the presentation and treatment of allergic disease. The cornerstone of treatment in allergy is avoiding the trigger, however, it is very hard to avoid pollen especially in the summer months when it is all around us.
Once diagnosed with hayfever there are a number of treatments options available:
1. Nasal douching helps to remove the pollens from the nasal passageways, these can be bought over the counter in your local pharmacy.
2. If suggested by your doctor the use of non- sedating oral anti histamines or low-dose intra nasal steroid sprays, these can be used as stand alone treatments or in combination, depending on the severity of your hayfever.
3. If symptoms are severe there is a desensitisation treatment available, this needs to be prescribed under the supervision of a medical doctor trained in allergies.
The following tips will help to minimise you or your child’s exposure to pollen:
- Dry clothes indoors.
- Have a shower once you have come indoors at the end of the day.
- Wear wrap around sunglasses to protect your eyes.
- Where possible on days when the pollen forecast is high, head for coastal areas.
- Look at the pollen forecast daily and be aware you may need to take extra medication on days where the pollen count is very high.
- Close windows.
- Make sure the pollen filter in your car is on.
If you or a loved one suffers from food allergies this can be a challenging time. When packing for your summer vacation always ensure that you have the medication you or your child needs, do not leave this to chance. It is also a good idea if you are travelling to a foreign country where a different language is spoken to try and translate the phrase “I have a food allergy to ……”.
www.selectwisely.com where you can order food allergy cards which are translated into different languages.
Always remember to carry your adrenaline pen, antihistamines and inhalers in your carry on luggage and alert the flight crew if you suffer from a severe food allergy.
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