Hay Fever Havoc for Children

High season for hay fever is upon us, and allthough the itching, sneezing and runny nose are sure to pass when the last grain of pollen finally drops, these symptoms can wreak havoc on the lives of many each year.

Children are no exception. While hay fever can lead to misery and loss of productivity for adults at work, children can suffer from decreased learning ability at school, behavioral problems, fatigue and frustration as a result of this condition.

The good news is that hay fever, though highly irritating, is also highly treatable in children as well as adults. Below, Dr. Morris Nejat, director of the Pediatric Allergy and Asthma Clinic at Bellevue Hospital Center in New York City, talks about the particular difficulties that children experience with seasonal allergies, and what can be done to stop them.

How common is hay fever in children?
It's very common. The incidence is probably twice that of adults. About 20 percent of children have some form of allergic rhinitis, which is commonly known as hay fever.

How can allergies impact a child's life?
Children like to play outdoors and most of the sports that school-age children play--such as football, baseball, soccer and tennis--are outdoor sports, which happen in the fall and the springtime, when pollen counts are highest. Children that have symptoms of allergic rhinitis may not perform to the best of their abilities.

Also, children with allergies may experience interrupted sleep, which means they may be more tired than they would ordinarily be. So they may not have as much energy or desire to participate in physical activities.

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