Everyone loves the summer time. What's not to love? Paddling pools and ice lollies, park adventures and ambles through the countryside.
But for children with allergies, the warmer weather can also mark the start of sneezy season – which isn't very enjoyable at all.
Hayfever can be miserable, but here is the good news: we have more information than ever on how to tackle hayfever and other allergies, and there are plenty of things you can do to manage your child's allergies so they don't spoil their summer. Here are some top tips...
Keep an eye on pollen counts – Pollen counts are highest between March and October – tree pollen comes first, followed by grass pollen. During these months many weather reports include a pollen count, so listen or watch each day so you know when you might need to take extra measures.
Also, as pollen tends to be most bothersome in the early morning and in the evening, it might help to keep your child indoors during these times.
Keep the pollen out – There's enough pollen outside, you don't want it inside too! It's impossible to eradicate it completely, but there are things you can do to keep your house as pollen free as possible.
Keep your windows and doors shut on high pollen count days. If it feels too hot inside, close your curtains and blinds to prevent the sun heating up the house. You should also wash bed clothes regularly, vacuum often and wipe down surfaces with a damp cloth every few days.
Give antihistamine – For most children with hayfever, an antihistamine can make all the difference, reducing sneezing, and helping with their runny nose and sore, itchy eyes.
You can buy a liquid antihistamine which causes no drowsiness. Speak to your pharmacist about which type will be best for your child – some medicines can be taken just once a day as a preventative measure, meaning if your child's hayfever is annoyingly consistent, their symptoms could be avoided all together, or greatly reduced.
Invest in some shades – Wrap around sunglasses could help keep pollen out of your child's eyes on warm, breezy days. As long as they'll keep them on, that is.
Trap the pollen – Try wiping a little petroleum jelly around the inside of your child's nostrils. This can help to trap the pollen before your child inhales it.
Try a nasal rinse – Pollen that's already lurking inside your child's nostrils can be washed away with a special saline rinse. Ask your pharmacist to recommend one.
And at the end of the day... If your child has been playing outside, remove their clothes as soon as they come indoors and pop them in the wash. Then give your child a quick bath or shower, which will remove any pollen on their skin or hair, and ensure it doesn't get transferred to their bed clothes.
Dust mite allergy
Some people find dust mites problematic in the winter, when the central heating is on full blast, and the little critters are celebrating the warm, moist conditions by reproducing. But allergic rhinitis caused by dust mites can be a year round problem, including in the height of summer when the weather is warm and humid.
If your child has an allergy to dust mites, here are some things you can try (but do note that some will not be suitable if your child also has hayfever)...
Cover the mattress – Invest in an anti-mite mattress cover, which you can buy in some chemists, department stores and online. It'll stop mites getting into the mattress (at which point they're not so easy to get rid of). Buy one which zips up and can be removed and washed regularly.
Dust and vacuum – Use a damp cloth to wipe down surfaces, including the edge of the bed. Vacuum regularly and don't forget to do under the bed, too.
Wash the mites away – Wash bed clothes at least once a week, at a temperature of at least 60°C – the heat will kill any mites on the fabric.
Go easy on the soft toys – Keep soft toys away from your child's bed. If they really need to sleep with their favourite one, prise it away once a week and put it on a hot wash, then put it in the freezer for several hours to kill any dust mites inside.
Here comes the sun – Dust mites might like warm, humid conditions, but they sure don't like the sunshine. If your child doesn't suffer from hayfever, hang their duvet out in the sun once a week, and bring their mattress out too. The direct sunlight will kill the mites.