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Helping children thrive during hay fever season

Hay fever is not just a nuisance for children but can affect their social development and educational
attainment. Jane Scullion and Steve Holmes explain how to help avoid the pitfalls.

Rhinitis is inflammation of the mucus membranes in the nose, an IGE-mediated reaction caused by sensitivity to either seasonal or perennial aeroallergens.1 There are two types of allergic rhinitis: seasonal allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and perennial allergic rhinitis.

While allergic rhinitis can affect all ages it is especially problematic in children. There is an incidence of up to 40% yet it is often unrecognised and untreated, 2 leading to a poor quality of life for sufferers, and associated complications and comorbidities.

Common symptoms associated with rhinitis are an itchy nose, red eyes, watery discharge from the nose and/or eyes, a blocked nose and sneezing. 3 Berger suggests that a good clinician can see the signs of severe allergic rhinitis in a person's face (Table 1).

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