Allergies & Hayfever
Allergies in Children
It is reported that worldwide, approximately 1 in 8 children have asthma, 1 in 13 have eczema and 1 in 8 have allergic rhinitis.). Allergies happen when your body's immune system reacts to a particular substance as though it's harmful. They are particularly common in children. Some allergies go away as a child gets older and some allergies develop later in adult life.
- Outdoors: tree pollen, plant pollen, insect bites or stings Indoors: pet or animal hair or fur, dust mites, mould Irritants: cigarette smoke, perfume, car exhaust Foods: peanuts, eggs, milk and fish products
Symptoms of an allergic reaction:
- A runny or blocked nose
- Red, itchy, watery eyes
- Wheezing and coughing
- A red, itchy rash
- Worsening of asthma or eczema symptoms
Medicines that help control symptoms of allergic reactions:
- Antihistamines: you can take these when you notice the symptoms of a reaction, or before being exposed to an allergen, to stop a reaction occurring
- Decongestants: tablets, capsules, nasal sprays, or liquids used as a short-term treatment for a blocked nose
- Lotions and creams, such as moisturising creams (emollients): can reduce skin redness and itchiness
- Steroid medicines: help reduce redness and swelling caused by an allergic reaction.
Severe allergic reaction (Anaphylaxis)
- Swelling of the throat and mouth
- Difficulty breathing
- Blue skin or lips
- Collapsing and losing consciousness
Diagnosing an allergy:
- Skin Prick Test: This involves putting a drop of liquid onto your forearm that contains a substance you may be allergic to. The skin under the drop is then gently pricked. If you're allergic to the substance, an itchy, red bump will appear within 15 minutes. Most people find skin prick testing not particularly painful, but it can be a little uncomfortable. It's also very safe.
- Blood Tests: A sample of your blood is removed and analysed for specific antibodies produced by your immune system in response to an allergen.
- Patch Test: They are used to investigate a type of eczema known as contact dermatitis, which can be caused by your skin being exposed to an allergen. A small amount of the suspected allergen is added to special metal discs, which are then taped to your skin for 48 hours and monitored for a reaction.
- Elimination Diet: If you have a suspected food allergy, you may be advised to avoid eating a particular food to see if your symptoms improve. After a few weeks, you may then be asked to eat the food again to check if you have another reaction.
Hay-fever is an allergic reaction to pollen, usually when it encounters your mouth, nose, eyes, and throat. Pollen is a fine powder from plants. Hay fever is usually worse between late March and September, especially when it's warm, humid, and windy. This is when the pollen count is at its highest.
Symptoms of hay-fever:
- Sneezing and coughing
- A runny or blocked nose
- Red or watery eyes
- Itchy throat, mouth, nose, and ears
- Loss of smell
- Pain around your temples and forehead
- Feeling tired
Your pharmacist can give you the best advice and suggest treatment methods for these symptoms. This can include antihistamine drops, tablets or nasal sprays. These treatments can help with a runny or blocked nose, itchy and watery eyes.
Ways to ease symptoms of Hay-fever at home:
- Put Vaseline around your nostrils to trap pollen
- Wear wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen getting into your eyes
- Shower and change your clothes after you've been outside
- Stay indoors whenever possible
- Keep windows and doors shut as much as possible
- Vacuum often and dust with a damp cloth
- Buy a pollen filter for the air vents in your car
Allergies - Overview - HSE.ie
Allergies - NHS (www.nhs.uk)
Hay fever - HSE.ie
Hay fever - NHS (www.nhs.uk)
Hay fever symptoms & treatments - Illnesses & conditions | NHS inform