In this section
Hay fever is the common name for a condition called allergic rhinitis, which means an allergy that mainly affects the nose. Hay fever can occur all year round. However, your nose is not the only organ that can be affected by allergic rhinitis - so can your eyes, throat, sinuses and ears.
Some of the symptoms of hay fever include:
If hay fever is left untreated it can lead to poor quality sleep, tiredness and daytime sleepiness. Severe hay fever can also:
Hay fever is triggered by what we breathe in. The small hairs and mucus in the nose trap dust, pollens and other tiny particles. A person with hay fever is allergic to some of the particles that get trapped in the nose.
When someone has hay fever all year round (called perennial allergic rhinitis), they are usually allergic to dust mites, animal fur and/or mould spores.
The best treatment is to identify what causes your child's allergic reaction and then try to avoid, or at least minimise, contact with it. Other options include medication and immunotherapy.
Sometimes the cause is obvious, such as a pet, however sometimes your child may need to see a doctor to identify the particular allergen/s. The doctor will ask questions and may suggest allergy tests (such as skin prick tests) to identify the cause.
Hay fever cannot be cured, but there are a number of ways you can improve the symptoms and give your child some relief. Preventive measures play an important role in the treatment of hay fever.
Your doctor may suggest using medication to help relieve your child's symptoms such as:
Your doctor or pharmacist can give advice on which may be best for your child.
Specific allergen immunotherapy is a long term treatment that usually involves injections of allergen extracts. Talk to your doctor if your child has serious allergic reactions.
Better Health ChannelASCIA - Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy Asthma QueenslandParenting and Child Health
Developed by the RCH Dept of Quality and Improvement. First published in November, 2008. Updated December 2010