Welcome to this month’s Childhealthy update. With pollen counts on the rise, this month we are focussing on seasonal allergies in children, how they are diagnosed and how they can be treated or prevented. Allergies can be an uncomfortable experience for your child, so we are going to discuss some of the ways you can help your child deal with them.
In response to parents’ enquiries about cases of hepatitis in children, we have included a brief summary for you on this evolving subject. Reassuringly numbers remain low, however, it is important to be aware of symptoms and contact your doctor if concerned.
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- What are seasonal allergies and what are the symptoms?
- How are seasonal allergies diagnosed?
- How can seasonal allergies be treated or prevented?
- Hepatitis alert in children: what do parents need to know?
- Childhealthy updates
Seasonal allergies are so common with around 20% of the UK suffering from hayfever and something we see in children in our clinics all the time. It can be concerning as a parent to watch your child experience symptoms of seasonal allergies. To help you feel more reassured and confident in helping your child, we have some information on how to help treat and prevent seasonal allergies and when you may need to seek further help.
What are seasonal allergies and what are the symptoms?
Seasonal allergies are allergies that occur in a particular season, usually spring and summer (although can occur all year round!) when exposed to allergens such as pollens from trees, grasses and weeds. Seasonal allergies can start at any age, but generally not before a child is 2 years old. Sometimes referred to as hayfever, pollen particles or other allergens cause an allergic reaction and histamine release into the bloodstream leading to the common allergy symptoms.
Allergy symptoms can come on suddenly, and can include:
- Itchy nose
- Itchy throat
- Red and itchy eyes
- Nasal congestion
- Runny nose
How are seasonal allergies diagnosed?
If you suspect your child might be suffering from seasonal allergies, seek advice from your GP or paediatrician. They will take a history of symptoms from you, examine your child and possibly arrange some tests. Some questions they might ask you include:
- What symptoms is your child experiencing?
- Do the same symptoms happen at the same time each year after your child is exposed to an allergen?
- How are the symptoms affecting your child? i.e missing school, poor sleep, fatigue, and poor concentration, which can all occur with hayfever.
Your doctor may be able to make a diagnosis, or they may have to refer your child to a paediatric allergist for further assessment.
How can seasonal allergies be treated or prevented?
There are a number of ways to treat and prevent seasonal allergies depending on the severity of symptoms. An important aspect of knowing how to treat or prevent allergies is knowing what your child is allergic to as one preventative measure could be to reduce or eliminate exposure to the allergen. This can be done by:
- Keeping the windows closed
- Use air conditioning instead of fresh air where possible
- Stay indoors when pollen counts are high
- Regularly wash hands or shower
- Change clothes after playing outside
If reducing exposure doesn’t help alleviate or prevent symptoms, doctors may recommend medicines including oral, nasal and ocular (eye) antihistamines and nasal steroid spray. If these medications don’t help symptoms, or your child is having to take large doses of the medicine they may be referred to an allergist who will decide if treatment with immunotherapy could help. If you are concerned about your child’s symptoms or would like to see a paediatrician please contact us.
For more information about seasonal allergies and how to treat them, please visit our hayfever in children and babies page.
Hepatitis alert in children: what do parents need to know?
We have received a number of enquiries in the past few weeks regarding recent reports of cases of hepatitis in children. There are ongoing surveillance studies investigating this further, so information remains limited, but we thought to summarise some key facts in the meantime for your reassurance. In affected children the common viruses that cause hepatitis in children (hepatitis A, B and C) have not been detected, nor has there been evidence of a link with the virus causing COVID-19 or the COVID-19 vaccines. Although not confirmed, there is some evidence to suggest a common virus, adenovirus is involved, although we must stress this is not confirmed at the time of writing.
The numbers of affected children have been low with an even smaller number more severely affected. As with any illness in children, early detection and intervention are very important.
Hepatitis is a condition affecting the liver and may happen for a number of reasons, including a variety of viral infections common in children. Parents should be aware of the common symptoms of hepatitis, including:
- Dark urine
- Pale, grey-coloured poo
- Itchy skin
- Yellowing of the eyes and skin, known as jaundice
- Muscle and joint pain
- High temperature
- Nausea and vomiting
- Lack of appetite
- Stomach pain
If you are concerned about your child, please seek a medical assessment. For more information please see the links below and feel free to get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org should you have any questions or concerns.
Below we have included links to some useful information:
- Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health – Increase in hepatitis cases in children under investigation.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – CDC Alerts Providers to Hepatitis cases of Unknown Origin
This month we welcomed back our first aid classes for parents and carers, and they have had quite the turnout. A recent class participant recently said “I just wanted to say another massive thank you for last night. It was an amazing session, we’ve all learnt a lot.” If you or anyone you know might be interested in taking part in our first aid classes, keep an eye on our classes for parents page for upcoming events.
This month we also have more exciting news! We are pleased to announce that we will be moving to our own permanent room at the Portland Hospital for use by all Childhealthy consultants. This move will mean more consistency for children and their families and more appointment availability – with more information on the move in the coming weeks. Our other clinic locations are still available as usual too!
Finally, we will soon be introducing some new members to the Childhealthy team! We are excited for our organisation to be growing and be able to offer more to keep your child healthy.
How to reach the Childhealthy team
Follow us on our social channels for regular updates from the Childhealthy team, and as always please do let us know about any topics you want to see covered via email – email@example.com.
Have a great rest of your month, enjoy the sunshine and we look forward to catching up again next month.
Dr Yiannis and the Childhealthy team