Every year I’ve had to cope with Mike’s relentless sneezing and G’s sniffles that signal the start of summer in our household. I’ve never experienced hay fever (also known as allergic rhinitis) and have to confess to being more than a little fed up with the constant coughing, endless nose-blowing and general spluttering that would accompany every summer day spent outside with my family. Given the rest of M’s allergies, it was something of a surprise that he’d never suffered with hay fever, but definitely a good one. Naturally, that equilibrium couldn’t carry on and this year he crashed into the world of hay fever with style.
It all started with yet another bout of croup. M struggles with croup 2 or 3 times each winter and has done since he was tiny. We were always told he would “grow out of it” in time, but by the time he’d hit 5 and was still suffering, I began to doubt that it would be something we’d be saying goodbye to any time soon. Last year I read an interesting medical article about “allergic or spasmodic croup“, which is caused by an allergic reaction to substances such as pollen as well as by acid reflux. It wasn’t relevant to us at the time of reading, but I filed it away in the back of my mind to be mused on at a future point. This point came after Mike and the children had been away for the annual Dads and Kids camping weekend and M was coughing that oh-so-distinct seal-like bark, which I remembered had developed at the exact same time last year. I wasn’t sure what had caused the croup to develop, but the coincidence of timing and the memory of that article made me wonder if we were seeing some sort of allergic reaction manifesting itself in M.
We popped along to see one of our lovely local GPs and put the question of M’s croup to her. I wanted to be certain there was no underlying infection that needed to be dealt with and was keen to see what she thought it was. She listened to M’s chest, heard his cough, took his temperature and reassured me that there was nothing untoward going on. Her opinion was that he was suffering from hay fever (tick to the allergic reaction to pollen) and the croup was being caused by post-nasal drip. She suggested that we’d not seen many signs of hay fever in M before because he regularly takes antihistamines to help manage his EGID, but this year’s particularly high pollen count was too much for those medicines to manage.
M received yet another prescription, this time for a nasal spray to help with the hay fever and I have to say that within days of taking it, his croup cleared up and has yet to return. So, M appears to have joined the ranks of hay fever sufferers in the family and I’m happy remaining the odd one out on this occasion!