Allergic rhinitis (Hay fever) for child
The child with any nasal allergy usually has a characteristic appearance, with dark rings and puffiness under the eyes making her look as though she lacks sleep. Creases in the lower eyelid, from the inner
corner towards the nose, are common in severe cases, and a white line across the top of the nose, known as the ‘allergic crease’, are signals that the child is allergic. This whitish line does not tan and is caused by the child continually pushing up its nose because it itches, in a movement known as the ‘allergic salute’. Mouth breathing is common due to swelling of the mucous membrane of the nose and this can result in a high arched palate and subsequent malocclusion (displacement) of the teeth. Symptoms are seasonal or year-round sneezing, and itching of the nose with a watery discharge. Hours later the nose seems to be blocked and the eyes water and itch.
Up to 20 per cent of all children have some degree of-allergic rhinitis and many of the recurrent ‘colds’ reported in toddlers are in fact allergic reactions.
When allergic rhinitis or hay fever is year round, the symptoms are less obvious. The eyes may not become red and itchy but there may be a headache, pain in the sinus cavities under the eyes, with a dry cough owing to the nasal secretions dripping into the back of the throat. Seasonal rhinitis (hay fever) has more noticeable symptoms of sneezing, itchiness and nasal discharge.
Common causes of allergic rhinitis are grass and other pollens, the house dust mite, moulds, particularly those that grow on rotting kelp (sea weed) and which are blown about when dry, sudden changes of temperature, smoke, food allergens, and the prolonged use of nose drops which require larger and larger doses to produce an effect. As is the case with all allergies, the best treatment is to remove the cause if it can be found. In low-lying, damp areas the house dust mite is a particular offender and every effort should be made to keep it to a minimum, particularly when the child suffers from hay fever or asthma.