Leicestershire and Rutland NHS leaders are advising parents to consider a range of precautions to help children with allergies to cope with the summer holidays.
• Allergy UK report the rates of asthma, hay fever and eczema have trebled in the last 20 years, with one in two of us having one or more allergies before the age of 18.
• Hay fever is the most common allergy but sometimes an unexplained rash (urticaria) or unusual bowel movements can be symptoms of an allergy too.
• East Leicestershire and Rutland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), West Leicestershire CCG and Leicester City CCG are advising parents to consider a range of simple precautions to help prevent conditions worsening, and advice on seeking treatment.
Dr Richard Hurwood, GP and member of East Leicestershire and Rutland’s Governing Body, speaking on behalf of the CCGs, said: “Children like to be out and about enjoying the freedom of the summer break. But for some, the burden of allergies can make everyday life tough and it can mean endless sneezing, streaming eyes, stuffy nose and a persistent cough, affecting social plans and emotional wellbeing. However, there are some basic precautions you can take to reduce your child’s exposure to pollen.”
For advice on over-the-counter remedies to help ease a child’s symptoms, visit your local pharmacy. You don’t need an appointment and most pharmacies have private consultation rooms where you can speak to a healthcare professional.
Dr Hurwood added: “If your child is still struggling with persistent symptoms, help your GP by listing the symptoms, when they happen, how often they occur and if anything specific seems to trigger them. Your GP will then be able to offer advice.”
To prevent a child’s condition worsening try these tips:
• Encourage your child to wear wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen getting into their eyes whilst playing outdoors
• Change their clothes when returning home from a day out, as pollen can cling to their hair and clothing
• Give them a bath before bed to avoid pollen transferring to their bed sheets
• Avoid playing or walking in grassy areas and camping – particularly in the early morning, evening and at night when pollen counts are highest.
If the pollen count is high (over 50) consider indoor activities:
• Keep windows and doors shut in the house. If it gets too warm, draw the curtains to keep out the sun and keep the temperature down
• Don't keep fresh flowers in the house
• Vacuum regularly, ideally using a machine with a HEPA (high-efficiency particle arresting) filter
• Damp dust regularly. Dusting with a wet cloth, rather than a dry one, will collect the dust and stop any pollen from being spread around
• Keep pets out of the house during the hay fever season. If your pets do come indoors, wash them regularly to remove any pollen from their fur
• Don't smoke or let other people smoke in your house. Smoking and breathing in other people's smoke will irritate the lining of your child’s nose, eyes, throat and airways, and can make the symptoms worse
• If possible, avoid drying clothes outside. This will help prevent bringing pollen into your house.
NHS 111 can also offer advice 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To find your nearest pharmacy and more information about treating allergies visit: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Allergies/Pages/Treatment.aspx