Hay Fever: A Complete Guide

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, 5.2 million children population and 19.2 million adult population experience allergic rhinitis – also known as Hay Fever. Hay fever is a common allergic reaction to dust, mites, pollens, and other outdoor or indoor allergens. It brings about symptoms such as blocked nose, runny nose, itchy and watery eyes.

Hay fever affects your mood and efficiency. People suffering from seasonal allergies reduce socializing to avoid exposing themselves to allergens.

However, with a proper understanding of the illness, you can learn to avoid the triggers and control your allergy.

Causes of Hay Fever

Hay Fever occurs when individuals inhale environmental allergens and pollutants like molds, mites, animal dander, sulfur dioxide, and tobacco smoke. Many people experience hay fever during spring when airborne pollens are at their peak.

However, hay fever can happen at any time of the year. Tree pollen during spring, grass pollen during summer, and weed pollen during autumn can induce symptoms of Hay Fever. Doctors call it perennial allergic rhinitis that can also happen because of house mites, pet hair, or dander. The condition lasts from 2-48 hours.

Airborne pollutants indoor also increase the risks of Hay Fever. If your house doesn’t have adequate ventilation or a gutter system, it will cause mold and mildew growth. The mold spores enter your nose and cause nasal congestion. Some of them also reach your lungs and provoke asthma.

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Symptoms of Hay Fever

Hay Fever has symptoms similar to viral colds. The most common symptoms include nasal obstruction, rhinorrhea or runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes, and headache. Secondary symptoms include ear infection (otitis) or sinus infection (sinusitis).

Ear infections are a result of viral or bacterial infections. However, they can also happen due to allergies. The sinus build-up swells and blocks the middle ear and leads to middle ear infection in children and adults.

Hay fever also worsens your sinus symptoms. Prolonged congestion, coughing, and wheezing cause inflammation in the membrane that lines your sinus. Less commonly, you will feel facial pain, loss of smell, earache, tiredness, and fatigue.

Diagnosis of Hay Fever

Hay Fever can be worse some years depending on the pollen count – the number of pollen in one cubic meter of air – and pollutants. Pollen count above 50 triggers an allergic reaction in individuals. People who experience hay fever are accustomed to the symptoms. So, they usually treat it at home with allergy supplements and over-the-counter medicines.

Allergy testing or a blood test is needed when the symptoms are severe, or there is an unusual pattern in symptoms, like having hay fever without stepping outside.

The doctor performs a physical evaluation, takes your medical history, and suggests either a Skin prick test or an allergy blood test.

Skin prick test confirms allergies in individuals. In this test, the lab technician pricks your forearm with a needle that has a small quantity of the substance you may be allergic to.

A person allergic to the substance will instantly have an allergic reaction like a red bump or a small breakout of hives on the skin.

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An allergy blood test confirms the number of allergy-causing antibodies in your bloodstream. A blood sample is taken from your arm and tested for the presence of immunoglobin antibody makes this antibody. Your body produces it when it comes in contact with allergens like pollen. A positive IgE confirms that you have Hay Fever.



Treatment of Hay Fever

To minimize your chances of contracting Hay Fever, limit your interaction with things that trigger the allergic reaction. Several over-the-counter medicines  are convenient for treating Hay Fever. They reduce nasal congestion and unblock your sinuses.

Allergy supplements also provide instant relief from sneezing, headache, and itchy eyes. Many people struggling with seasonal allergies opt for probiotics and botanical supplements. It reduces inflammation and relieves symptoms of Hay Fever. Vitamin C in your diet and supplements also helps the body fight against infection and decrease the severity of reactions.

In some cases, when the symptoms get worse, doctors can suggest OTC medicines  such as Antihistamines. Decongestants, and nasal corticosteroid. Decongestants are also present in over-the-counter medicines  to effectively treat the symptoms.

People also prefer using over-the-counter nasal sprays to treat nasal inflammation and congestion.

Prevention of Hay Fever

If you are prone to allergies, you need to be extra careful to avoid triggering them. Regularly vacuum your house to remove dust and dirt particles. High-efficiency vacuums featuring HEPA filters are effective for trapping all kinds of allergens.

Avoid going outside when the pollen count is above 50. If you are, wear a mask to avoid inhaling the pollens. Also, maintain some distance from your pets and keep the doors and windows closed during peak hay fever season.

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