Hay Fever, formally called Allergic Rhinitis, is an allergic reaction to Environmental Allergens. These include mold, dust mites, pet dander and pollen. Hay Fever has an effect on one in five people. Some people have symptoms all year round while others experience worse symptoms during particular seasons. Hay Fever Symptoms are usually triggered by a change in the season and a number of other associated factors such as pollen, grass, mould, dust and pets. It’s common for windy weather to make matters worse for hay fever sufferers. Especially dry winds. Moist winds tend to be less of a problem as the moisture attaches to the pollen. But dry winds stir up the pollen and dust, creating a dense, if unseen laden atmosphere.
Hay Fever Symptoms
The symptoms of Hay Fever are originated when a person has an allergic reaction to Pollen. Pollen is a fine powder discharged by plants as component of their reproductive cycle. Pollen includes proteins that can cause the nose, eyes, throat and sinuses (small air-filled cavities behind your cheekbones and forehead) to become swollen, irritated and inflamed. Symptoms of hay fever include:-
- Repeated sneezing attacks
- Runny or itchy nose
- Itchy or watery eyes
- Itchy throat, palate and ears
- Loss of concentration
- General feeling of being unwell
If the pollen count is very high, many will also wheeze
A person can have an allergy to:-
- Tree pollen, released during spring
- Grass pollen, released during the end of spring and beginning of summer
- Weed pollen, released any time from early spring to late autumn
Treatment of Hay Fever
The greatest treatment is to keep away from Allergic Triggers. It may be impossible to completely avoid all your triggers or steps can be taken to reduce your exposure to the Triggers. Mild Allergic Rhinitis can be treated with a nasal wash that can help remove mucus from the nose. You can buy a saline solution at a drug store or make one at home using one cup of warm water, half a teaspoon of salt, and pinch of baking soda.
The most valuable treatments for hay fever are:
- Antihistamine tablets and nasal sprays, which if taken regularly help to relieve a runny nose, sneezing, an itchy throat and itchy, watery eyes
- Anti-inflammatory nasal sprays and nose drops (usually containing steroids), which reduce inflammation in the delicate lining of the nose. These should be taken daily for the best results
- Anti-allergy nasal sprays and eye drops, such as cromoglycate, which act on the linings of the nose and eyes to stop the allergen triggering a reaction
- Decongestant tablets and sprays can help if the nose is blocked and stuffy, but can lead to rebound blocking
Steroid injections, although effective for symptom control, are discouraged owing to unwanted side effects.
Risk Factors of Hay Fever
- Asthma or another allergic condition such as eczema
- A family history of hay fever
- Exposed to tobacco smoke during early childhood
Preventing Hay Fever
Following precautions may help:-
- Wear filters over the nose
- Vacuum regularly, ideally using a machine with a HEPA (high-efficiency particle arresting) filter.
- Damp dust regularly. Dusting with a wet cloth, rather than a dry one, will collect the dust and stop any pollen from being spread around.
- Keep pets out of the house during the hay fever season. If you’re pet does come indoors, wash them regularly to remove any pollen from their fur.
- Don’t smoke or let other people smoke in your house.
- Keep an eye on the pollen count and stay inside as much as possible when it’s high.
- Wear wrap-around sunglasses to stop pollen getting in your eyes
- Saline douches or a little Vaseline applied inside the nose will reduce symptoms
- Keep car windows closed and switch on the air conditioning to prevent pollen entering the car
- Keep bedroom doors and windows closed in mid-morning and early evening when pollen levels peak
- Avoid areas such as parks or fields, particularly in the early evening when there’s a lot of pollen floating at nose level
- Get someone else to mow the lawn and don’t lie on freshly cut grass
- Change into clean clothes when you come home and wash the clothes you wore outside.
- Avoid drying clothes outside. This will help prevent bringing pollen into your house.
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