Can babies get hay fever? Symptoms to look out for and how to treat them

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  • Hay fever is a common ailment amongst adults but can babies get hay fever too?

    Hay fever and its symptoms are irritating enough for adults, let alone little ones. And while there are plenty of hay fever remedies for adults, it’s not quite as straight forward with babies.

    We know that children can suffer from hay fever, so knowing if your baby could have hay fever too, and identifying what the symptoms are, could help you spot if your little one is allergic to pollen so you can help them by doing things to ease their symptoms.

    Can babies get hay fever?

    Yes, babies can get hay fever. Babies can be affected by allergens such as pollen, just the same as adults. 

    Chemist and natural health expert Dr Tim Bond explains that hay fever symptoms in babies are often missed, as they are, “similar to those of a common cold”. 

    The main difference between a cold and hay fever symptoms in babies is that hay fever “does not generally come with a temperature or a fever as a cold might,” explains Dr Tim, who works for Puressential.

    “If the baby’s mum and/or dad suffer from allergies (e.g. hay fever, asthma, eczema) the baby may be more prone to allergic illnesses including hay fever,” adds Dr Tim.

    Much like hay fever in adults, it’s nothing to worry about. But much like all conditions that affect babies, from milk spots to coughs in babies, it’s important to look at the wider symptoms. Always contact your GP or call 111 if you’re unsure.

    Dad holding baby in the park in the sunshine

    Credit: Getty

    Symptoms of hay fever in babies

    • Itchy, red or watery eyes (making the baby rub their eyes)
    • Sneezing and coughing 
    • Runny or blocked nose
    • Tiredness 

    “Signs and symptoms of hay fever are similar in babies and children to those in adults,” Dr Bond explains. It’s also most common between March and October, just like with adults. 

    It might be a sign that your baby is suffering from hay fever instead of just a common cold if their symptoms get worse in warm, sunny weather – and don’t clear up quickly like a cold. “It’s often when patterns of symptoms like this develop that you might suspect an allergy rather than a cold,” says Dr Tim.

    “It is important to seek medical advice to get an accurate diagnosis if a baby or young child develops these types of symptoms as it is important to be sure it is a pollen allergy/hay fever and to rule out asthma or other medical conditions which may require prescription medication.” 

    Mother blowing nose of baby girl at home, as babies can get hayfever

    Credit: Getty

    Alongside this, there are some ways to treat a baby’s hay fever at home. 

    How to treat hay fever in babies

    Hay fever can be eased in babies with just a few simple adjustments: 

    • Putting petroleum jelly (such as Vaseline) or a special barrier balm around their nostrils, to trap pollen
    • Washing their clothes if they’ve been outside, to rid them of pollen
    • Keeping windows and doors shut
    • Vacuuming regularly and dusting with a damp cloth
    • Buy a pollen filter for your car’s air vents
    • Keep the baby away from parks and gardens in hay fever season
    • Wash the baby’s face with cool water to remove any pollen 
    • Put a brimmed hat on a baby when outside the house

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    Dr Tim Bond says that if the child is over three years old, a nasal spray could be an effective way to prevent symptoms worsening. “Try Puressentiel Respiratory Air Spray or Puressentiel Respiratory Decongestant Nasal Spray.” He says, as they each contain essential oils which have “traditionally been used for respiratory ailments and are suitable for blocked or runny noses caused by pollen allergy.” 

    So while hay fever in babies can be worrying, especially if you don’t suffer with the allergy yourself, it’s nothing to worry about.