Child Specialist & Neonatologist

Hay Fever

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Hay fever is the common name for a condition called allergic rhinitis, which means an allergy that mainly affects the nose. Hay fever can occur all year round. However, your nose is not the only organ that can be affected by allergic rhinitis – so can your eyes, throat, sinuses and ears.

Signs and symptoms

Some of the symptoms of hay fever include:

  • frequent bouts of sneezing
  • a runny nose
  • blocked nose (either one or both nostrils)
  • itchy ears, nose, throat and roof of the mouth
  • red, itchy, swollen and/or watery eyes
  • headaches


Hay fever is triggered by what we breathe in. The small hairs and mucus in the nose trap dust, pollens and other tiny particles. A person with hay fever is allergic to some of the particles that get trapped in the nose.
Triggers include:

  • pollen (from grasses, flowers and trees)
  • dust mites
  • animal fur or hair (dander)
  • mould spores
  • cigarette smoke


The best treatment is to identify what causes your child’s allergic reaction and then try to avoid, or at least minimise, contact with it. Other options include medication and immunotherapy.
Sometimes the cause is obvious, such as a pet, however sometimes your child may need to see a doctor to identify the particular allergen/s. The doctor will ask questions and may suggest allergy tests (such as skin prick tests) to identify the cause.
Hay fever cannot be cured, but there are a number of ways you can improve the symptoms and give your child some relief. Preventive measures play an important role in the treatment of hay fever

Key points to remember

  • Hay fever is an allergic reaction and is most common in spring.
  • Perennial allergic rhinitis occurs all year round.
  • Avoiding triggers is the best way to reduce the frequency of hay fever attacks.