Hay fever, commonly known as allergic rhinitis, is defined by cold-like symptoms such as a runny nose, itchy eyes, congestion, sneezing, and sinus pressure. Hay fever, unlike a cold, is not caused by a virus. Hay fever is caused by an allergic reaction to a harmless outdoor or indoor substance that the body mistakes for something harmful (allergen).
Common allergens that might induce hay fever symptoms include pollen and dust mites. Aside from making you unhappy, hay fever can affect your performance at work or school and overall interfere with your life.
People with allergic rhinitis often experience symptoms after inhaling an allergen such as pollen or dust. Tree and grass pollen are the most prevalent springtime triggers. Ragweed, other weed pollens, or outdoor mold are major allergens in the fall. When a vulnerable individual inhales an allergen, the immune system may produce the following symptoms:
- Itching in the nose, mouth, eyes, or throat
- Runny nose or post-nasal drainage,
- Stuffy nose due to blockage or congestion,
- Strong scents and fumes, such as perfume or hair spray
- Puffy, swollen eyelids
- Red and watery eyes
- Cigarette smoke
- Air fresheners
- Cleaning products, pool chlorine, vehicle emissions, and other air pollutants
When to See the Doctor?
Hay fever symptoms are not extremely hazardous. Allergy testing is not necessary for hay fever diagnosis. You should consult a doctor if over-the-counter (OTC) medications are not relieving the symptoms. If you want to know the exact cause of your allergy, you can request an allergy test from a doctor or a specialist. Consult your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Your symptoms are unpleasant and last longer than a week.
- You are not recovering from over-the-counter allergy medications.
- You have another condition, such as asthma, worsening the hay fever symptoms.
- Your signs and symptoms are severe.
- Your allergy medications are causing unpleasant side effects.
- You want to find out if allergy injections or immunotherapy are a good choice for you.
When you get hay fever, the immune system fails to identify a harmless airborne substance as dangerous. This substance is known as an allergen. Because your immune system defends your body, it creates immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies to guard against this allergen. When you touch the allergen again, the antibodies tell your immune system to release chemicals like histamine into your bloodstream. This creates a response that results in hay fever symptoms.
Some factors increase the risk of hay fever.
The risk is higher if a close family member has hay fever or another allergy.
Other allergies or asthma
Other allergies or asthmaThe risk is greater if a close family member has hay fever or another allergy.
Early exposure to cigarette smoke raises the risk of hay fever.
Complications of hay fever may include:
Hay fever can also cause recurring ear infections, such as otitis media in children and sinusitis in adults. Untreated hay fever may also raise the risk of developing asthma or make asthma more difficult to control, so if you have asthma, it is important to address the nasal symptoms. This is because both asthma and hay fever are related to airway inflammation. About four out of every five asthma people also have hay fever.
The doctors will often perform a physical exam and review your health, symptoms, and potential causes to diagnose hay fever. The doctor may advise you to get one or both of the following tests:
Skin prick test
Small amounts of allergenic material are pricked into patches of skin on the arm or upper back. You will then be monitored for any allergic reactions. If you are allergic to anything, you will acquire a raised bump (hive) at the site of the allergen. This usually takes 15 to 20 minutes. Allergy experts are often the most qualified to perform allergy skin testing.
Allergy blood test
A blood sample is submitted to a lab to be tested to see how the immune system reacts to a specific allergen. This test determines the number of allergy-causing antibodies, known as immunoglobulin E, in your circulation (IgE).
There are many effective hay fever treatments. Reducing the exposure to the trigger (or triggers) will help prevent attacks if you know what it is and if it is preventable. Depending on your symptoms' frequency, intensity, and predictability, you may need to take prophylactic medicine regularly. Eye drops, for example, can occasionally alleviate irritation.
Decongestants, antihistamines, and nasal steroids are examples of over-the-counter (OTC) treatments. Montelukast and nasal steroids are frequently beneficial in controlling hay fever symptoms. Immunotherapy, often known as allergy injections, helps some people, and injections of the allergen are used to reduce your immune response. Sinus surgery may be required if a nasal blockage or nasal polyps are present.
Dos and Don’ts
Spring is in the air, and so are billions of tiny pollens that trigger allergy symptoms in millions of people. This is known as seasonal allergic rhinitis, sometimes known as hay fever. Hay fever can impair your quality of life by causing sinus infections, interrupting your sleep, and impairing your ability to learn or perform at work. During allergy season, you can try to lower your chance of an allergic response or lessen your symptoms by doing the following:
|Keep windows closed at night to prevent pollen or molds from drifting into your home.
|Spend too much time outside
|Keep car windows closed when traveling.
|Take medicines as prescribed by your doctor
|Dry clothes outside as they can catch pollen
|Vacuum regularly and dust with a damp cloth
|Self medicate if you suspect hay fever
|Stay indoors whenever possible
|Drink excessive alcohol
Take care of yourself, sleep well, and rest to recover faster.
Care at Medicover Hospitals
We have the best team of general physicians and specialists at Medicover who treat Hay Fever and its severe symptoms. Our highly trained physicians use the most up-to-date diagnostic techniques and procedures to run tests, and diagnose and treat Hay Fever in adults and infants. Our experts work closely with the patients to monitor their health and treatment progress to achieve a faster and more sustained recovery.