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Hay Fever In Babies

4 min read

Babies are susceptible to different types of allergies. They can be very sensitive to otherwise harmless things like some ingredients in the food, air, and water. Sometimes the allergy symptoms kick in during a particular season. Babies could also develop an allergy due to harmless pollens or dust mites. For babies the signs of allergy like itchy eyes, runny nose can be upsetting as it will disturb their sleep and activities during the day. Continue reading to know more about seasonal allergy that is also called Hay fever.
hay fever

What is Hay Fever?

Allergic rhinitis, which is also popularly known as hay fever, is the inflammation that occurs in the lining of nose, throat, and eyes when the body reacts to airborne particles such as pollen. It could be tree pollen, weed pollen or grass pollen. It can also be caused by spores in the air, which are released by the molds. Hay fever is more common during spring. If the allergens include animal fur and dust mites, the symptoms of hay fever will remain round the year.

Are All Babies Prone To Hay Fever?

Children below three years, very rarely develop hay fever mostly because they spend more time indoors. However, babies fall under following groups are more likely to develop hay fever:

  • There is a strong genetic link associated with hay fever. If either parent or a close relative has hay fever, the baby is more likely to get it
  • If the baby has a hyper-alert immune system that’s always in search for foreign substances that get into the body
Is Hay Fever A Serious Problem Or Just A Nuisance?

A child with hay fever is more likely to develop asthma and eczema in the near future. It also increases the chances of the sinus infection. The child will be more prone to frequent eye infections because they tend to rub the itchy eyes. There are chances of chronic ear infection due to frequently inflamed lining of the ear canal. It can also lead to bad breath as the child tends to breathe through the mouth due to a blocked nose.

Causes Of Hay Fever In Babies

Pollen and mold, on its own, can cause no harm. However, when an allergic child inhales pollen or mold spores, his body observes it as a dangerous intruder and responds by releasing histamine and other chemicals. Histamine inflames the lining of the nose, eyes, and throat, developing the symptoms of hay fever.

What Are The Symptoms Of Hay Fever In Babies?

The symptoms of hay fever appear the same time during the same season. This is the first indicator that the child has hay fever. Also, the symptoms of hay fever are found to get worse after the child plays or spends a lot of time outdoors. It also gets worse on warm sunny days or windy days and during early morning and early evenings (pollen gets released during these hours of a day). Some of the symptoms of hay fever are:

  • Itchiness: Baby develops itchiness in eyes and nose. The itchy feeling can occur in the roof of the mouth, throat, and even ears
  • Sneezing
  • A runny nose with clear watery nasal discharge
  • Red swollen, watery eyes
  • Dry cough
  • Hives can happen as a result of hay fever
How Are Symptoms Of Hay Fever Different From The Common Cold?

Hay fever, unlike the common cold, will not cause any symptoms of infection like dark yellow discharge from the nose (for hay fever the discharge from the nose will be clear and watery), fever, headache, etc. The symptoms will also last for weeks or even months until the presence of pollen or spores in the air is gone completely or reduced considerably.

How Is Hay Fever In Babies Diagnosed?

Usually, diagnosis of hay fever is made based on the symptoms. A family history of hay fever along with the symptoms also helps in diagnosing hay fever in babies. Sometimes, a skin prick test and a blood test is conducted to find out the particular allergen that causes the hay fever in babies.
hay fever in babies

How Is Hay Fever In Babies Treated?

The treatment option depends on the severity of the allergic reactions. Rather than aiming cure, the treatment options focus on relieving the severity of the symptoms of hay fever. Medication and immunotherapy are used in treating hay fever in babies.

  • Non-sedating antihistamines are used to treat hay fever in babies
  • The saline nasal spray is used to minimize the nasal issues due to hay fever
  • Paediatric eye drops are used to reduce the swelling and itching of the eyes of the baby
  • Immunotherapy or allergy shots is a long-term treatment suggested by doctors if the allergic reactions are quite serious and persist even after undergoing other treatments
How To Prevent Hay Fever In Babies?

Completely preventing your baby from hay fever is not possible. However, avoiding situations where the baby gets exposed to the allergen will help to prevent hay fever or at least decrease its severity in babies to a certain extent. The following preventive measures may help to reduce the severity of the hay fever in babies:

  • Keep the windows and doors of your baby’s room closed, when the amount of pollen in the air is high (during early morning and early evening)
  • During travel, remember to close the car windows
  • Pets can get pollen inside the house. Therefore, never let your baby play with the pets too closely
  • Applying a smear of vaseline on the inside edge of your baby’s nostrils while going out will prevent the pollen getting in
  • Wash hair, face, and hand once the baby comes in the house. This will help to wash out the pollen that has stuck to the baby’s body and hair
  • Change your baby’ clothes after every outing
  • Invest in wraparound sunglasses that will prohibit the pollen from entering the eyes
  • Keep the floor, furniture, toys, and curtains neat and clean with a help of a vacuum cleaner with a good filter
  • Avoid indoor flowering plants
  • Avoid using fabric materials to which dust, pollen, pets dander could easily get trapped
  • Avoid drying baby’s cloth outside as the pollen can stick to the clothes
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