How to treat your child's hay fever
Child sneezing with hay fever  

Does your child have the sniffles and the sneezes long after cold and flu season is over? Your little one could be suffering with hay fever. Hay fever is a common allergy, with up to 40% of children suffering from it. Thankfully, there are things you can do to help.

Today, we’re going to take a look at all things hay fever and what you can do to help your child through hay fever season.


What is hay fever?


Hay fever is a very common allergy. You're likely to have suffered with it yourself, but what makes hay fever tick? To put it simply, hay fever is what happens when you have an allergic reaction to pollen.

This can happen when pollen comes into contact with your mouth, nose, eyes, or throat, making your body react. Pollen is a substance that comes from plants, and it looks like a fine, yellow powder. It can be transported by the wind, and its microscopic size means that it can be in the air all around you without you being able to see it.

That's why the pollen count you see on the news is so important. It helps you to know when there will be more pollen in the air, meaning you should take extra precautions against hay fever.


Hay fever symptoms to look for in your child


Hay fever symptoms in children are the same as they are in adults, so you may already know what to look for. Common symptoms of hay fever include:

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Red, itchy, or watery eyes
  • A runny nose
  • Itching in your nose, throat, mouth, or ears
  • Headaches
  • Feeling tired

If your child has asthma, there are a few extra signs you might notice. For example, your child might be short of breath or begin wheezing and coughing. They may also complain of a tight feeling in their chest.

Hay fever symptoms can last for months as the pollen count grows over the spring and summer. This is another sure-fire sign that your child has hay fever and isn’t just battling a common cold.


What is the best way to treat hay fever?


There are lots of different ways to treat hay fever. Treatments can make the symptoms more manageable and help hay fever sufferers get through those high pollen days. The most common are:

  • Tablets and capsules
  • Eye drops
  • Nasal sprays or inhalers
  • Syrups

These can all relieve hay fever symptoms, but which one is right for your child? We’re going to take a look at some of the options down below!

How do hay fever remedies work?  

When you come into contact with pollen, hay fever sufferers will have an allergic reaction. When this happens, the body will create a substance called histamine, which is what triggers symptoms like sneezing, itching, and a runny nose.

Most hay fever medicines contain antihistamines, which block the histamine your body produces. This means your hay fever symptoms are stopped right at the source. You may find antihistamines in tablets or syrups.

Other hay fever remedies contain corticosteroids, a kind of steroid that helps to reduce the activity in your immune system. They help to reduce your body’s response to allergens, such as pollen, and can work as an anti-inflammatory. You may find this kind of treatment in nasal sprays or inhalers.


Which hay fever remedies are right for children?


You’re in luck, because there are many types of hay fever treatments that are suitable for children. At Chemist4U, you'll be able to find a number of tablets, syrups, and eye drops that can be used by children aged six and over.

There are many over-the-counter remedies available, so you’ll be sure to find one that’s perfect for your child. Let’s take a look at all of our options, shall we?




Tablets are a popular hay fever treatment, and there’s a huge range available, with most being suitable for children over the age of 12. Lots of them can be used by children as young as 5 or 6, too, and some can even be used by children as young as 2. However, always check the product label, patient information leaflet, or ask your doctor or Chemist4U pharmacist to make sure the medication is suitable for your child.




Syrups are a popular choice for younger children, and they’re perfect for those who don’t like to take tablets. Many hay fever relief syrups can be used by children as young as 2, making them ideal for little ones who suffer from sneezing, coughing, and other hay fever symptoms.


Eye drops


Our final option for children suffering with hay fever is eye drops. Some eye drops can be used by children aged 6 and over. Just one or two drops every day can help to relieve symptoms of hay fever, including itchy and watery eyes.


What hay fever remedies can I give to my toddler?


If your child is younger than five, it can be trickier to find a suitable remedy for hay fever. Don’t worry! We’ve done the legwork for you!

For children younger than five but older than two, the simplest remedy is usually a syrup. Syrups from brands such as Clarityn and Benadryl can be used by children as young as two for fast hay fever relief. If your toddler is over twelve months old but hasn’t reached two yet, you might be pulling your hair out looking for a remedy that will work. Well, stop stressing because we’ve found your answer!

Piriton has syrup which treats hay fever symptoms and can be used by toddlers aged 1 and up. Perfect!


Are there any treatments available for babies?


Unfortunately, there aren’t any over-the-counter remedies for hay fever that are suitable for babies younger than twelve months. However, there are still some things you can do if your baby is suffering from hay fever symptoms.

For starters, check the pollen count. You can do this online but most local weather reports on the TV will tell you the pollen count, too. If the pollen count is high, try to keep your baby indoors. If you’re going out and about with your little one, keep car windows shut when you’re driving. This will help to keep pollen out.

You could also get a pair of wrap-around sunglasses to protect your baby’s eyes from pollen. When you get back from your trip, wash their hair, face, and hands. This will help to clear off any pollen that might be clinging to them. A change into some clean clothes can help too, but make sure to dry baby’s clothes indoors so pollen won’t get to them.


I’m pregnant and suffering from hay fever, what treatment can I use?


If you're pregnant and suffering from hay fever, there are medications that are safe to use during pregnancy. You must always speak to your doctor or pharmacist before taking any medications, as not all will be safe for you to use.

The most common hay fever remedies recommended to pregnant women are nasal sprays and eyedrops. These can be just as effective as the tablets you may normally use and can help to relieve hay fever symptoms throughout your pregnancy.

If nasal sprays and eye drops don’t work for you, your doctor may recommend that you use tablets instead. There are two types that are normally recommended to pregnant women: loratadine and cetirizine.


If I’m breastfeeding, will my hay fever remedy affect my baby?


If you’re breastfeeding your little one, the advice you will receive from your doctor or Chemist4U pharmacist will likely be the same as the recommendations for pregnant women. However, if your baby was born prematurely, had a low birth weight, or has a medical condition, your doctor may suggest something different. As always, we recommend speaking to your doctor or pharmacist before taking any medication when you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.


Some of these remedies can make my child drowsy, are there other options?


Some hay fever remedies will make you or you child drowsy. This isn’t always a bad thing, as some hay fever sufferers struggle with insomnia and a drowsy medication can help them get to sleep. But if you’re looking for a remedy that won’t make you drowsy, there are lots of great non-drowsy antihistamines available to you.

  Young girl blowing her nose  

Those are the things you need to know about hay fever and what you can do to help your child during those high pollen count days. If you still have any questions, don’t be afraid to contact a Chemist4U pharmacist for advice if you're unsure.

Laura Henderson - Medical Content Writer
James O'Loan - CEO & Superintendent Pharmacist
James O'Loan , CEO & Superintendent Pharmacist on 05 April 2023
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