With a whopping 38% of youngsters reported to struggle with hay fever and over a million UK children suffering with asthma, these conditions can have a serious impact on not only exam performance but also quality of life.
Research from Asthma UK has shown that young people who have been diagnosed with asthma are 30% more likely to drop a grade between their mock exams and finals. They have also found that 4 in every 5 young people with asthma also have hay fever, with the similarity of the symptoms of these conditions increasing the risk of a life-threatening attack.
Thankfully, there are some steps that can be taken that can help a little to reduce the impact of these serious conditions. Read our top tips below on what you can do to help see your child through exam season:
1. Visit your GP/nurse well in advance
Don't wait until study leave - it's important to have a 'plan of attack' to nip seasonal allergy symptoms in the bud. Your doctor or nurse will be able to discuss your treatment options and give your child the best chance of sailing through their exams. This is particularly important for cases of asthma, which can be life-threatening - preventer inhalers should be used according to your doctor's instructions and reliever inhalers should also be kept handy at all times. The school could be informed in severe cases of allergies if you are concerned that they could impact on your child's exam performance.
2. Look for non-drowsy medications
Research suggests that antihistamines with sedative effects increase the risk of children unexpectedly going down a grade between their mocks and finals. That's not to say that antihistamines should be ignored as a temporary measure in cases of severe hayfever, as sometimes they cannot be avoided. But try wherever possible to look for medications labelled 'non-drowsy' to reduce the risk of these sedative effects that can impact on children's ability to concentrate.
HayMax is a great non-drowsy barrier balm, which can be simply applied around the base of the nostrils to physically trap pollen and prevent it from being inhaled. It's organic, small enough to fit in your child's pencil case and has had rave reviews from our customers.
3. De-stress and sleep well
According to Asthma UK, around 69% of people find stress to be an asthma trigger. The pressures of exam time can be incredibly stressful for young people, therefore it's vital to minimise stress levels as much as possible.
An early night, a healthy, balanced diet and plenty of exercise are great ways to reduce stress levels. If your child has hayfever as well as asthma, remember to keep windows closed overnight to reduce pollens. Investing in an air purifier can make a huge difference - they trap pollen in the air, encouraging a more peaceful night's sleep and more comfortable mornings.
If your child is really worried about their asthma, Asthma UK have a helpline (0800 121 62 44) which is open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (calls are free from BT landlines).
4. Keep an eye on the pollen count
The Met Office publishes a daily pollen forecast online - check this daily so you can take remedial steps.
5. Reduce exposure to allergens
Physically reducing your exposure to allergens is a very effective way to reduce hay fever symptoms. Simple strategies like washing hair before bed, changing clothes before entering the bedroom, keeping pets downstairs and keeping car windows closed on the journey to school can make a noticeable difference. Try our Hay Fever Solution Pack - a combination of sprays with a free HayMax balm to naturally and quickly fight allergens at home and on the go. If allowed by the school, your child could bring a wearable ionic air purifier to their exams to repel pollen allergens.