Hay Fever: Brief Version

What is hay fever?

Hay fever is an allergy to pollen in the air. Your child probably has hay fever if:

  • There is a clear discharge from your child’s nose.
  • AND your child’s nose itches.
  • AND your child sneezes and sniffs.
  • Your child’s eyes may also itch and water or look pink.

Here are the months of the year you may expect problems with hay fever:

  • In April and May, the most common pollen is from trees.
  • In June and July, most of the time it is from grass.
  • From August until the first frost, ragweed pollen is the big problem.

Animal fur and other things could cause your child’s hay fever.

How can I take care of my child?

Give your child an antihistamine.

  • This medicine works best for hay fever.
  • Your child’s doctor will tell you what you should use.
  • If your child has hay fever every day, it’s a good idea to give him the antihistamine every day during the pollen season.

Nasal sprays

  • Your doctor may prescribe a nasal spray.

Nasal washes

  • You can use warm water or saltwater nose drops to wash pollen out of the nose. Put 2 or 3 drops in each nostril. Then have your child blow his nose.

Shower your child and wash his hair every night before bed.

  • This will clean away the pollen. Your child should have fewer symptoms at night.

Help your child stay away from pollen and other things that may cause hay fever.

  • Make sure your child stays away when someone cuts grass.
  • Your child should stay indoors when it is windy or if there is a lot of pollen in the air.
  • Make sure your child stays away from anything that causes his hay fever.

Wash your child’s itchy or watery eyes.

  • Wash your child’s face and eyelids with water. That will clean away any pollen.
  • Put a cold wet cloth on your child’s eyelids for 10 minutes.

Call your child’s doctor during office hours if:

  • The hay fever does not get better after your child takes medicine for 2 days.
  • Your child gets sinus pain or pressure.
  • You have other questions or concerns.
Written by Barton D. Schmitt, MD, author of “My Child Is Sick,” American Academy of Pediatrics Books.
Pediatric Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2012-05-15
Last reviewed: 2014-06-10
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 Barton D. Schmitt, MD. All rights reserved.

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