Young Australians with hay fever are suffering from seasonal sneezing and nasal irritations unnecessarily, according to new research from the Woolcock Institute for Medical Research in Sydney.
Those children were also more likely to have poorer physical and mental health and fewer happy days compared to their peers.
“There are many children who suffer as a result of hay fever,” said lead researcher Professor Sinthia Bosnic-Anticevich.
“Parents have reported that their children have trouble sleeping, are more irritable, are more distracted, and have also reported difficulties doing school work and other activities that are part of their daily life.”
Hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis, affects one in five or 4.6 million Australians. It is triggered by house dust, animal fur, pollen, fungal spores, and air pollutants that irritate the nose and cause colds, nasal congestion, sneezing, and itchy or watery eyes.
Chloe Oliver, 11, has had hay fever for as long as she can remember.
The Year 6 student carries over-the-counter medicine in her backpack to take when her symptoms get worse.
“When it’s windy and dusty, sometimes in the classroom, there will be lots of dust and I can feel a sneeze coming up,” Chloe told 9News.
“It’s difficult because in class I have to go get tissues every day.”
While over-the-counter antihistamines are a popular option, Prof Bosnic-Anticevich says nasal sprays are the gold standard abroad.
She says parents should watch out for symptoms of runny and itchy nose and if their child seems more tired and irritable than usual and if they suspect hay fever, instead of looking for over-the-counter options, speak up first. with a pharmacist or doctor. to make sure they are receiving the proper treatment.
“It really is about knowing what is best for your child,” said Professor Bosnic-Anticevich.
“We have had parents who have spoken to us and told us that they have noticed really significant changes in their children, in how happy they are and in their ability to carry out everyday activities.”