The Independent Pharmacy

How To Treat Hay Fever In Children

Scott McDougall
Scott McDougallMPharmDirector & Registered Manager

Reviewed on 2 May 2024

What is the best hayfever treatment for children?

The most commonly used and recommended medications for children’s hay fever are chlorphenamine, loratadine, and cetirizine. These antihistamines block the effects of histamine, the chemical responsible for those annoying sneezes, runny noses, and itchy eyes.

Why are these medications the go-to choices? They’ve been extensively studied and proven to be safe for children while effectively relieving hay fever symptoms. With proper guidance from your healthcare provider, these medications can help your child find relief and enjoy the great outdoors without constant discomfort.

Let’s explore the best hayfever treatments for children in more detail.

Key Takeaways

  • Over-the-counter antihistamines like chlorphenamine, loratadine, and cetirizine are safe, effective first-line treatments for managing children’s hay fever symptoms.
  • While medications provide relief, implementing simple lifestyle adjustments at home, such as using AC filters, rinsing off after outdoor play, and tracking pollen counts, can significantly minimise allergen exposure.
  • If your child’s hay fever persists despite consistent treatment, or they experience severe symptoms like difficulty breathing, seek medical guidance for a personalised management plan.

The Best Hay Fever Treatments for Children


Chlorphenamine is a longtime favourite for treating hay fever in children over the age of 6. It’s available as a syrup or tablets, making it easy to administer to kids of different ages. The typical dose is once or twice a day, and it starts working within 30 minutes to an hour, providing relief from sneezing, runny nose, and itchy, watery eyes.

Chlorphenamine Tablets & Solution
Chlorphenamine Tablets & Solution
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The NHS warns that one potential side effect to be aware of is drowsiness. Some children may feel a bit sleepy after taking chlorphenamine, so it’s best to give it before bedtime or when they can rest comfortably. Keeping them hydrated and offering cool, damp cloths can also help them feel more refreshed.


Loratadine is a fantastic option for children over 2 years of age because it’s a non-drowsy antihistamine. That means your little one can take it and still be their energetic self throughout the day without the risk of feeling groggy or sleepy. It comes in both liquid (Clarityn Allergy Syrup) and tablet form, making it convenient for different age groups.

Loratadine 10mg Tablets
Loratadine 10mg Tablets
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The recommended dose is once a day, and it can be taken consistently throughout the pollen season and can help you tackle hay fever when on holiday, too. Since it doesn’t cause drowsiness, loratadine is an excellent choice if your child needs to attend school or participate in activities while managing their hay fever symptoms.


Cetirizine can be a real lifesaver when hay fever symptoms are particularly severe. This powerful antihistamine quickly alleviates even the most stubborn sneezing, runny noses, and itchy eyes. It’s available as a syrup (like our Piriteze Allergy & Hayfever Syrup) or tablet, making it easy to administer to children who are more than 2 years old.

The recommended dosage for cetirizine is once a day, and it’s best given in the evening to avoid any potential drowsiness during the day. If you miss a dose, don’t worry – just give it as soon as you remember and continue with the regular schedule.

One thing to keep in mind is that cetirizine may not be suitable for children under 2 years old or those with certain health conditions, which you can explore on the NHS page for Cetirizine. Always consult with your healthcare provider before giving your child any new medication.

Things Parents Should Think About

When selecting the most appropriate hay fever medicine for kids, there are a few key factors to consider. First and foremost, it’s essential to disclose any other medications or supplements your child is currently taking. Some antihistamines may interact with other drugs, potentially causing unwanted side effects or reducing their effectiveness.

Another crucial aspect to think about is how the medication might impact your child’s daily routine and activities. If your child needs to attend school or participate in sports or other active pursuits, a non-drowsy option like loratadine may be more suitable to avoid any potential drowsiness or lethargy.

It’s also important to closely monitor your child’s response to the chosen medication. While these antihistamines are generally safe and effective according to research, every child is unique, and their individual reactions may vary. Keep a close eye on how well the medication is controlling their hay fever symptoms and watch for any adverse effects, no matter how mild.

If you notice that the current medication is not providing adequate relief or causing undesirable side effects, don’t hesitate to consult with your healthcare provider. They may recommend trying a different antihistamine or adjusting the dosage to better suit your child’s needs.

Everyday Tips for Parents

Keeping Allergens Away

  • When pollen is at its worst, make sure to keep the windows shut tight. Those sneezy particles love floating in through open windows, especially in the morning.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of AC! Use it at home and in the car to filter out pollen before it can get to your child’s eyes and nose.
  • After playing outside, have your little one hop in a nice warm shower or bath. It’s the perfect way to rinse off any pollen hitchhikers on their skin or in their hair.
  • As lovely as sun-dried laundry smells, hang clothes to dry inside. A study from 2011 confirms that pollen can stick to fabrics when they’re dried outdoors.
  • Be sure to vacuum regularly with a HEPA filter to trap indoor allergens lurking around.

Taking these steps to reduce pollen and allergens at home will provide some relief for your child’s hay fever symptoms.

Tracking Symptoms

  • Keeping a daily symptom diary for your child is handy. Write down how bad their hay fever is and any triggers you notice.
  • Download a pollen tracker app or check weather forecasts and the pollen forecast from the Met Office so you know when pollen counts will be high.
  • Pay attention to if certain activities or places seem to make symptoms worse, then tweak routines to avoid them.

Putting these simple but effective tips into action can make your home more allergy-friendly and help manage your child’s hay fever day-to-day. A little proactive effort goes a long way! The diary and pollen tracker let you connect the dots on what makes your kid’s symptoms worse so you can make tweaks to their routines. Staying on top of it means your little one gets to breathe easier.

Take the Next Step With The Independent Pharmacy

Managing allergies takes an all-hands-on-deck approach. Medication and home remedies are crucial, but having an expert team on your side can make a big difference.

The Independent Pharmacy has a self-assessment form that helps you get personalised guidance based on your child’s specific needs. You fill out details on their symptoms, current meds, and other factors. Then our pharmacy team reviews everything thoroughly.

After that, we put together tailored recommendations to get your little one the most effective hay fever relief. Our pharmacists are with you each step of the way, offering professional advice and constant support.

And to understand the condition better, read through our hay fever guides.

Don’t let hay fever hold your little one back another day. Reach out to our team, do the assessment, and take the first step toward real, lasting solutions. We’re here to guide you through this and help your child embrace each day comfortably and confidently.

The path to better hay fever management starts now - are you ready to begin?

Our personalised approach looks at all the details so we can find the right plan. With us in your corner, your child can say goodbye to hay fever!


What is best for children’s hayfever?

The most commonly recommended treatments for children’s hay fever are antihistamine medications like chlorphenamine, Loratadine, and cetirizine. These work by blocking histamine, the pesky chemical that causes those annoying sneezes, runny noses, and itchy eyes. When used as directed and under a doctor’s guidance, they’re safe, effective options for little ones.

How do I get rid of hay fever ASAP?

Antihistamine tablets or liquids are your best bet for speedy relief from the seasonal hay fever miseries. Options like cetirizine can start working within 30 minutes to an hour to alleviate sneezing, runny noses, and itchy eyes. You can also use saline nasal sprays to flush out pollen and moisturise nasal passages. But for long-term management, discuss an appropriate treatment plan with your child’s health care provider.

What makes hayfever worse?

Various factors can worsen hay fever symptoms, like high pollen counts, exposure to other allergens like dust mites or pet dander, and even stress. Dry, windy days tend to kick up more pollen, while humidity can make things worse by causing more pollen to absorb moisture and burst. Paying attention to patterns can help you adjust your child’s routine accordingly.

Does drinking water help hay fever?

Staying hydrated can definitely provide some relief for hay fever sufferers! Drinking plenty of water helps thin out mucus, making it easier to clear from nasal passages. It also supports the immune system and keeps delicate respiratory tissues moist and healthy. While water alone won’t cure hay fever, it’s a simple step that can ease some of those common symptoms.


NHS (2021). Chlorphenamine (Piriton) -

NHS (2021). Cetirizine -

Juha Jantunen and Kimmo Saarinen (2011). Pollen transport by clothes -

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