Here comes the sun, so here comes the hay fever...
Ahhh lovely summer... Beaches, holidays, BBQs, sun and allergies.
Summer brings us long, sunny days outdoors, but it also brings adults and children the most unpopular allergy at this time of year: allergic rhinitis, more commonly known as hay fever. The young and the old alike suffer at the hands of this irritating condition, and it can affect newborns.
Hay fever is an inflammation of the nasal mucous membranes caused by pollen, and generates a series of nasty symptoms such as watering eyes, runny nose and sneezing, nasal congestion, itchy nose or roof of mouth and a sore throat.
Preventing hay fever symptoms
- Keep allergens at bay in the home: vacuum the surfaces of the house (floor, furniture, carpets, upholstery, curtains, stuffed animals, etc) regularly.
- Avoid having pollen-producing plants indoors, as well as animals that shed or lose hair.
- Ventilate children's beds and wash the sheets at least once a week at elevated temperatures (higher than 60°C).
- Limit outdoor activities on days when the pollen levels are high.
- Avoid environments with smoke, dust or drafts.
- Keep the windows closed in the house and car so that pollen can not enter.
- If the kids have been playing outside, make sure they wash their hands or take a shower after entering the house to remove any traces of pollen.
Treating hay fever symptoms
- Surprisingly, food can help to reduce the symptoms of hay fever. Fruits and vegetables like kiwis, oranges, apples, onions, spinach and tomatoes are rich in vitamin C, natural antihistamines, and folic acid that can help to prevent congestion and allergic reactions to pollen.
- Antihistamines and corticosteroids are among the drugs commonly used to treat symptoms, but should always be prescribed by the doctor. However, there are some home remedies that can help alleviate the symptoms of congestion and eye irritation in children:
- Frequently wash or spray the nostrils and eyes with saline solution to help clean away pollen particles.
- Invest in a cold air humidifier to moisten the environment and help mucous flow.
- If it is a baby, offer the boob or bottle frequently - this helps the mucous to circulate.
- Raise the head of the mattress, as congestion worsens when lying down flat.