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Parent's guide to hay fever in early years

Toddler outdoors

It’s that time of year again… Hay fever season. You may experience sneezing, runny noses, headaches and more.

But did you know your little one can experience hay fever too from as early as 18 months old (sometimes even earlier)?!

We’re here with an all you need to know guide to hay fever in early years – from symptoms to daily tips and additional resources.

Let’s jump straight in!

First things first, what actually is hay fever?

In summary, hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen.

In the UK, most people are affected by pollen from grass but flowers, trees and sometimes mould can also be the cause.

Your little one is more likely to experience it if you have a family history of hay fever, eczema or asthma.

Toddler smelling flower

Now onto the symptoms!

As with many things, hay fever symptoms can vary from mild to quite severe, which could potentially cause disruption to your child’s daily life (if this is the case, please take your little one to see a GP).

Most common symptoms include:

  • Sneezing

  • Itching in the nose, throat, eyes or ears

  • Headache

  • Runny or blocked nose

  • Watery red or swollen eyes

  • Shortness of breath or wheezing

You can find out more on the NHS website.

What to do when your little one has hay fever?

The good news is, there are things you can do to help!

In terms of medication, antihistamines treat all symptoms and can be taken once your child turns 1. Speak to your pharmacist or GP for an age-appropriate version that’s best for your child.

But there are other things you can do to help daily to negate some of the symptoms. Let's have a look at some recommended tips here:

  • Check the daily pollen forecast and avoid parks or gardens on those days if possible.

  • Have your child wear a pair of wrap-around sunglasses and a hat you can wash.

  • Wash your child’s hat.

  • Put a small bit of Vaseline around your little one’s nose. This will trap some of the pollen, limiting how much of it they breathe in.

  • Warm showers or baths (that include washing hair) help to remove lingering pollen.

  • If your little one’s eyes are affected you can use a cool damp cloth, placing it on closed eyes to help.

  • Swap clothes they’ve been wearing outside – also a good idea to give them a wash when possible.

  • Pollen can attach to clothes when dried outdoors, try to avoid hanging your washing outside if pollen forecast is high.

  • Brush down pets before they come back inside.

These are a few handy tips you can try out to help limit the symptoms (they will also be useful if you get hay fever!), you can find out more by having a look at the recourses below.


Resources for additional reading


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