Hay Fever (allergic rhinitis and conjunctivitis)

Allergic rhinitis can be seasonal (hayfever) or last all year round. It effects up to 15% of children and can start in early childhood. As well as being intensely irritating, rhinitis can affect the quality of sleep and as a result will impact on the child’s ability to concentrate and learn.

Symptoms from hay fever can be relentless and teenagers with severe disease run a 50% risk of dropping a grade in their GCSEs if they have bad symptoms. This can be made worse by not being on newer medications and bad cases of hay fever can also affect asthma control, too. It is often poorly managed as the the effect of the symptoms on the child and family are underestimated.

Fortunately, symptoms of itchy, blocked, runny nose and sneezing as well as itchy eyes can often be treated with safe medication together with identification and avoidance of the causative allergen. I can help by diagnosing which allergen is driving the symptoms, offering advice on avoidance and treatment as well as ensuring you are on the most appropriate medication and know how to use it.

We can also offer immunotherapy to airborne allergens such as grass and house dust mite.  Immunotherapy is recommended for patients over five years old who, despite allergen avoidance and trying maximal recommended medication, still have uncontrolled symptoms. Sublingual immunotherapy involves a small dissolvable tablet or drops of solution being placed under the tongue each day. The tablets/solution contain tiny amounts of either grass pollen or house dust mites and help your immune system to build up a tolerance to the allergen.  Immunotherapy is the only treatment which aims to treat the underlying cause of an allergy, rather than just the symptoms. Immunotherapy has been shown to be effective in inducing long-term reduction in symptoms. However, the treatment is taken over three years, so it is important that while
you are taking the immunotherapy you still take your regular allergy medication.  The aim is that by the end of the treatment programme the symptoms and reliance on medication have reduced.   Please enquire if you feel this treatment may be beneficial for your child.

Not only did your explanation of how to use a nose spray help our son, it sorted out why my husband’s hayfever hadn’t been controlled for so many years, so he thanks you as well!
Patient’s Parent

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