Baby Hay Fever? 6 Signs Your Baby Might Be Suffering
If you’ve ever experienced hay fever as an adult, then you’re already well-versed in the signs of hay fever in a baby. That’s right—baby hay fever is a real thing.
Hay fever, also called allergic rhinitis, affects almost one in five Australians at some point, and up to 30% of children. It’s basically an allergy to things like pollens, dust mites, and animal fur, and it can be a response to indoor or outdoor allergens.
These allergens go unnoticed by non-hay fever sufferers, but in people with hay fever, the body reacts as if it’s under attack. It produces histamine, which is why your throat and sinuses become swollen and inflamed.
Hay fever causes sneezing, runny nose, and watery, itchy eyes. As an adult, it’s easy to recognise these symptoms. But in a baby who can’t yet talk? You might have to do a little detective work.
6 Signs of Hay fever in a Baby
Here are six signs that your baby might be suffering from hay fever. While some babies may show multiple signs of hay fever, others may only show one or two. Since hay fever is linked to allergens like pollen, symptoms may vary from day to day depending on the presence of allergens in the air.
If you suspect baby hay fever, make an appointment with your paediatrician for further advice. Hay fever is frustrating, but it usually responds to treatment.
1. Baby rubbing eyes
If you notice your baby rubbing his or her eyes more than normal, they might be trying to relieve an itch. This could be a sign of baby hay fever.
2. Clear runny nose
When a baby has a cold, his or her runny nose might produce a thick, mucousy discharge. With hay fever, that discharge is usually clear. Watch for a clear runny nose if you suspect hay fever.
3. Red or swollen eyes
Does the area around your baby’s eyes look red or puffy? It can be hard to tell, especially if a baby has been crying. But if this red, swollen state persists, hay fever might be the cause.
It’s true, baby sneezes can be pretty cute. Unfortunately, they could be a sign of hay fever. If your baby sneezes often, particularly when outside, that’s a possible indication that hay fever is the culprit. Sneezing when outside suggests a pollen allergy, while sneezing inside could be related to pet dander or dust mites.
5. Stuffy nose
This one is harder to identify, but a stuffy nostril or two can be a sign of hay fever. If you notice your baby sniffling, having trouble eating and swallowing, coughing, or breathing with their mouth open, there could be a stuffy nose at play. However, these signs could be related to something else so it’s best to check with your doctor.
6. Family history of hay fever
Though a genetic history of hay fever isn’t necessarily a precursor to baby hay fever, it can make it more likely. Babies with a family history of allergies can be genetically predisposed to have hay fever. If your baby displays any of the above signs, and there’s a family history, it’s wise to visit a doctor.
Relieving Baby Hay fever Symptoms
So your baby is suffering from hay fever. As a parent, is there anything you can do to relieve their symptoms? Fortunately, the answer is yes.
However, first a disclaimer—while hay fever in adults is often treated with prescription medication, under no circumstances should you give this to your baby. Follow your doctor’s orders, especially when it comes to medication.
Here are a few things you can do at home to help baby feel better.
Wear baby sunglasses outside
Hay fever can be triggered by outdoor pollens and things like cut grass. Putting sunglasses on your baby can help create a barrier between their eyes and the allergens in the air.
Close windows when the pollen count is up
If pollen is high – especially likely in the summer – close doors and windows to prevent it from getting in the house. The same goes for car windows when you’re out and about.
Apply a cool compress to your baby’s eyes
If your baby’s eyes are red and itchy, soak a soft cloth in cool water and gently apply to your baby’s eyes. This can provide some relief against the discomfort.
Clothe your baby in natural fabrics
Synthetic fibres can generate static electricity, which can then attract pollen granules. Dressing your baby in natural fibres like cotton can help avoid extra pollen.
Dry your clothes inside
As nice as it is to sleep in sun-dried sheets, these can wreak havoc with your baby’s hay fever. Drying sheets outside can lead to pollen in the sheets, and in your baby’s bed.
See your paediatrician
If it seems like we’re repeating ourselves, that’s because we are. If you suspect that your baby has hay fever, see your doctor. They can diagnose the problem and suggest an age-appropriate treatment, so you can help your baby manage hay fever.
Baby hay fever can be a tough one to identify, but by paying attention to the signs and consulting a medical professional, you can do your best to stay on top of it.