Hay Fever (Nasal Allergies)
- An allergic reaction of the nose (called allergic rhinitis)
- An itchy nose, clear discharge and sneezing is common
- Clear nasal discharge with sneezing, sniffing, and itching of nose (100%)
- Eye allergies (itchy, red, watery and puffy) also can occur (70%)
- Ear and sinus congestion or fullness can occur
- Throat can also feel scratchy or have a tickly feeling at times
- Itchy ear canals, itchy skin or hoarse voice sometimes also occur
- Symptoms happen during pollen season
- Same symptoms during the same month of the last year
- Past diagnosis by a doctor is helpful
- No fever
- Hay fever is an allergic reaction of the nose and sinuses. It is a reaction to an inhaled substance (called an allergen). Most often, this is a pollen.
- Grass, trees, weeds and molds are the most common pollens.
- Allergens can also be from cats, dogs, horses, rabbits and other animals.
When to call your doctor
Call Your Doctor Within 24 Hours (between 9 am and 4 pm) If
- You think your child needs to be seen
- Lots of coughing
- Sinus pain (not just congestion) does not go away with allergy medicines. (NOTE: Sinus pain is around the cheekbone or eyes.)
Call Your Doctor During Weekday Office Hours If
- You have other questions or concerns
- Hay fever symptoms make it hard to go to school or do normal activities. (NOTE: Taking allergy medicine for 2 days has not helped.)
- Diagnosis of hay fever has never been made by a doctor
- Year-round symptoms of nasal allergies
- Snoring is a frequent problem
Parent Care at Home If
- Hay fever
CARE ADVICE FOR HAY FEVER
- What You Should Know:
- Hay fever is very common. It happens in about 15% of children.
- Nose and eye symptoms can be controlled by giving allergy medicines.
- Pollens are in the air every day during pollen season. So, allergy meds must be given daily. They need to used for 2 months or longer during pollen season.
- Here is some care advice that should help.
- Allergy Medicines:
- Allergy medicines are called antihistamines. They are the drug of choice for nasal allergies.
- They will help control the symptoms. These include a runny nose, nasal itching and sneezing.
- Benadryl or Chlorpheniramine (CTM) products are helpful. No prescription is needed. They need to be given every 6 to 8 hours. See Dose Tables.
- The bedtime dosage is especially important for healing the lining of the nose.
- The key to control is to give allergy meds every day during pollen season.
- Cetirizine (Zyrtec) or Loratadine (Claritin):
- Loratadine and Cetirizine are long-acting allergy medicines. No prescription is needed.
- Advantage: Causes less sedation than older allergy meds such as Benadryl and chlorpheniramine. They are long-acting and last up to 24 hours.
- AGE 2- 6 years old, discuss with your child's doctor. If approved, give 2.5 mg (2.5 ml or 1/2 teaspoon) of liquid syrup. Use once daily in the morning.
- AGE 6-12 years old, give 5 mg chewable tablet once daily in morning.
- AGE: 12 years and older, give 10 mg tablet once daily in morning.
- Downside: Doesn't control hay fever symptoms as well as older allergy medicines. Also, sometimes will have breakthrough symptoms before 24 hours. If that happens, you can give a single dose of Benadryl or CTM.
- Cost: Ask the pharmacist for a store brand. Reason: Costs less than Claritin or Zyrtec brand.
- Nasal Washes to Wash Out Pollen:
- Use saline nose drops or spray. This helps to wash out pollen or to loosen up dried mucus. If you don't have saline, you can use warm tap water.
- STEP 1: Put 3 drops in each nostril.
- STEP 2: Blow each nostril out while closing off the other nostril. Then, do the other side.
- STEP 3: Repeat nose drops and blowing until the discharge is clear.
- How often: Do nasal washes when your child can't breathe through the nose. Also, do them if the nose is very itchy.
- Saline nose drops or spray can be bought in any drugstore. No prescription is needed.
- Saline nose drops can also be made at home. Use 1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) of table salt. Stir the salt into 1 cup (8 ounces or 240 ml) of warm water.
- Other option: Use a warm shower to loosen mucus. Breathe in the moist air, then blow each nostril.
- Eye Allergies:
- For eye symptoms, wash off the face and eyelids. This will remove pollen or any other allergic substances.
- Then put a cold wet washcloth on the eyes.
- Most often, an allergy medicine given by mouth will help the eye symptoms. Sometimes, eye drops are also needed.
- Antihistamine Eye Drops - Ketotifen (1st Choice):
- Ketotifen eye drops are a safe and effective product. Examples are Zaditor or Alaway. No prescription is needed.
- Dose: 1 drop every 12 hours.
- For severe allergies, use ketotifen eyedrops every day during pollen season. This will give the best control.
- Antihistamine/Vasoconstrictive Eyedrops (2nd Choice):
- Dose: 1 drop every 8 hours
- Ask your pharmacist to suggest a brand. Some brand names are Naphcon A, Opcon A, or Visine A.
- Do not use for over 5 days. (Reason: Will cause red eyes from rebound effect).
- Downside: Doesn't work as well as Ketotifen eye drops.
- Wash Pollen Off Body:
- Remove pollen from the hair and skin with shampoo and a shower. This is especially important before bedtime.
- What to Expect:
- Since pollen allergies recur each year, learn to control the symptoms.
- Pollen - How to Reduce the Pollen Your Child Breathes:
- Pollen is carried in the air.
- Keep windows closed in the home, at least in your child's bedroom.
- Keep windows closed in car. Turn the air conditioner on recirculate.
- Avoid window fans or attic fans. They pull in pollen.
- Try to stay indoors on windy days. Reason: The pollen count is much higher when it's dry and windy.
- Avoid playing with the outdoor dog. Reason: Pollen collects in the fur.
- Pollen Count: You can get your daily pollen count from www.pollen.com.
Just type in your zip code.
- Call Your Doctor If:
- Symptoms are not better in 2 days after starting allergy medicine
- Your child becomes worse
Author: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.
Last reviewed: 9/1/2012
Last revised: 1/14/2013 3:08:19 PM