Hay Fever (Allergies)

Main Symptom

  • Clear nasal discharge with sneezing, sniffing, and nasal itching
  • Eye allergies (itchy, red, watery and puffy) are commonly associated
  • Ear and sinus congestion may also be associated
  • A tickling, scratchy sensation in the back of the throat can be associated
  • Itchy ear canals, itchy skin, and hoarse voice are also seen
  • Symptoms occur during pollen season
  • Similar symptoms during the same month of the previous year
  • No fever
  • Cause: Hay fever is an allergic reaction of the nose and sinuses to an inhaled substance, usually a pollen.

See More Appropriate Topic

  • If doesn’t look like hay fever, see Colds

Call Your Doctor Within 24 Hours (between 9 and 4) If

  • You think your child needs to be seen
  • Lots of coughing
  • Lots of yellow or green secretions from the nose present > 3 days

Call Your Doctor During Weekday Office Hours If

  • You have other questions or concerns
  • Hay fever symptoms interfere with sleep or school after taking antihistamines for 2 days
  • Diagnosis of hay fever has never been confirmed by your doctor
  • Year-round symptoms of nasal allergies

Parent Care at Home If

  • Hay fever and you don’t think your child needs to be seen

Home Care Advice for Hay Fever

  1. Antihistamines: Give antihistamines continuously during pollen season (continuously is the key to control).
    • Chlorpheniramine (CTM) (eg chlortrimeton) products are effective and don’t need a prescription. (Any antihistamine you have will do, but others may cause more drowsiness.)
    • See dosage chart for CTM
    • The bedtime dosage is especially important for healing the lining of the nose.
    • Long-acting products (less dosages per day) and combination antihistamine-decongestant products (less-sedating) may be more helpful.
  2. Eye Allergies: For eye symptoms, wash the pollen off the face and eyelids. Then apply cold compresses. Antihistamine vasoconstrictor eyedrops (no prescription needed) will also help.
  3. Wash Off Pollen: Remove pollen from the nose with nasal washes (using warm tap water) whenever needed. Instill 2 or 3 nosedrops in each nostril followed by blowing the nose. Repeat until open. Remove pollen from the hair and skin with hair-washing and a shower, especially before bedtime.
  4. Expected Course: Since pollen allergies recur each year, learn to control the symptoms.
  5. Call Your Doctor If
    • Symptoms aren’t controlled in 2 days with continuous antihistamines
    • Your child becomes worse or develops any of the “Call Your Doctor Now” symptoms