The so-called "hay fever" in children is nothing more than an allergic reaction to certain allergens, mostly grass pollen, and is referred to in technical language as allergic rhinitis.
In the warm season, children prefer to play outside. There they breathe in the pollen of flowers, trees or grasses in the air. Normally, a child's healthy immune system ignores these substances. In case of pollen allergy, however, these allergens irritate the mucous membranes.
The child begins to sneeze, his eyes water, his nose runs. These symptoms of hay fever in children occur because antibodies are formed in the child's organism, which release the messenger substance histamine.
This overreaction of the immune system usually starts quite suddenly and can take place at different times of the year, depending on when which pollens fly.
In spring it is the tree pollen, followed by the grass and grain pollen in summer. Later in the year, herbal pollen can also cause the typical eye itching and sneezing.
Due to climate change and the spread of plants introduced from other continents (z. B. Ragweed from America), hay fever can now occur almost at any time of the year.
Causes: What triggers hay fever
Hay fever in children is triggered by allergens, i.e. pollen, to which the child is allergic. The most common triggers of hay fever include grass pollen. Tree pollen, herb pollen and flower pollen can also lead to an allergic reaction.
Hay fever is triggered by contact with the corresponding allergen – the pollen of the corresponding plant Symptoms of hay fever.
The typical symptoms of hay fever in children are eye itching and sneezing, runny nose and difficult breathing. The respiratory muscles become tense, namely. The mucous membrane of the bronchial tubes may swell due to the inflammation. There may also be scratching of the throat or difficulty in swallowing.
Some children with pollen allergy hardly feel the symptoms. Your life will hardly be restricted by it. Others, however, may be severely affected, especially if the hay fever is joined by some food allergies triggered by it.
Therapy and treatment for hay fever
The therapy of hay fever is based on three pillars.
The easiest way to reduce the discomfort is to avoid the allergens that trigger it. You can keep windows closed at the appropriate time of year and make sure to wash pollen out of long hair or clothing.
Rather difficult to carry out is with children the recommendation, they should stay as little as possible outside. That would the joy of life. Significantly reduce social contact.
Being outdoors is often problem-free when allergy therapeutics are administered. Antihistamines, which the child can use as eye drops or nasal spray, are popular in this context. However, sometimes they cause side effects, such as fatigue.
In order to control pollen allergy in the long term, immunotherapy is used. This treatment is also called hyposensitization and often lasts several years. In this method, the allergens are injected under the skin in order to accustom the immune system to them in this way. This method of treatment is particularly suitable when it is known exactly which pollen triggers the hay fever in the child.
If hay fever is not treated at all, the constant irritation of the upper respiratory tract will cause the symptoms to shift to the lower respiratory tract (the bronchial tubes). The so-called "floor change" occurs. About 30 % of hay fever patients who do not seek treatment develop allergic asthma. This is why hay fever in children should not be taken lightly. Search for specific treatment options.
During the diagnosis, the question often arises whether it is a cold or hay fever, or whether it is a cold or hay fever. another allergy is involved. Typical for hay fever in children is that it starts suddenly. A cold, on the other hand, often announces itself with a headache or a scratchy throat. It also lasts about 7-9 days. The symptoms of hay fever can last much longer. Usually return every year at the same time of year.
The symptoms of a pollen allergy also depend on the location and the weather. Pollen allergy is more noticeable outdoors, with pollen on clothing or entering the house through open windows. Unlike a cold, the nasal secretion does not change its color, it remains clear and watery.
In order to know with certainty that the child's complaints are hay fever or. If the patient has a pollen allergy, a blood test should be performed.
If the suspicion of allergy is confirmed, a test is carried out on the skin. Allergens dissolved in water are used in contact with the skin. This is how you find out which pollen your child is allergic to.
Acute symptoms of hay fever can be treated with anti-allergic or anti-inflammatory medications.
The anti-allergic agents, called antihistamines, provide significant and rapid relief of symptoms in cases of acute pollen allergy. However, they can also be associated with side effects such as mouthiness.
Anti-inflammatory medications, for example nasal sprays containing cortisone, have a much slower effect. The effect is visible only after a few days.
Prevention is better than cure. Therefore, allergens should be avoided as much as possible. You can use a pollen calendar and the weather service's pollen alert to plan outdoor stays accordingly. Ventilate only intermittently. Pollen concentration in the air is highest in the evening in cities.