What Allergy Suffers Need to Know About Hay Fever

Spring may still be a few weeks away, but many allergy sufferers are already reaching for their tissues. As the snow begins to melt, and we say goodbye to winter – we say hello to spring and the pollen that comes with it. Minor allergic reactions can be easy to manage, but what about hay fever? Learn more about hay fever, and how to address symptoms.

What is Hay Fever?

Hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis, is a common condition. In fact, it’s the fifth most common disease in the United States. It’s caused by an allergic response to substances in the air like pollen.

Hay fever is most common during the spring, summer and early fall. While many people experience hay fever in the spring, when flowers are in full bloom – it can hit any time of year depending upon what you’re allergic to.

In 2016, 20 million adults were diagnosed with hay fever. That’s 8.2 percent of the adult
population.

Symptoms of Hay Fever

Symptoms of hay fever are very similar to the common cold. Patients suffering from hay fever can experience:
• Sneezing
• Stuffy nose
• Runny nose
• Watery eyes
• Itching of the eyes, nose or roof of mouth

More severe symptoms can include sweats, headaches, loss of smell and taste and facial pain. People with asthma can experience increased wheezing and breathlessness during bouts of hay fever.

Getting Diagnosed

If you’re suffering from severe symptoms, you may be experiencing hay fever. See a doctor if you suspect your symptoms are the result of hay fever. Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and family medical history to provide a proper treatment plan.

Blood or skin tests can be performed to identify which substances you are allergic to. In a skin test, the physician will prick the skin with a tiny amount of an allergen. If your skin reacts, you’re allergic.

Avoiding Hay Fever

The most common cause of hay fever is an allergy to pollen from trees, grasses or weeds. Avoiding hay fever can be difficult when you have a pollen sensitivity, especially if you spend a lot of time outdoors.

If pollen is a problem for you, use resources like Pollen.com or weather sites to track the pollen count. If the pollen count is high, you may want to stay indoors for the day. Local news programs often provide pollen reports as well.

Hay Fever Treatments

There are several over-the-counter remedies that address the symptoms of hay fever. Ask your physician which remedies are best for you.

There are several medications that address allergy symptoms including:

• Antihistamine sprays or tablets
• Eye drops
• Nasal corticosteroids
• Oral corticosteroids
• Immunotherapy

In addition to medications, there are alternative therapies that address the symptoms of hay fever like acupuncture.

Hay fever is a miserable condition. It can make breathing, sleeping and functioning difficult. If you suffer from airborne allergies, contact Dayton Dandes Medical Center for a treatment plan that’s right for you.

References

“Allergic Rhinitis.” ACAAI Public Website, acaai.org/allergies/types/hay-fever-rhinitis. Nordqvist, Joseph. “Hay Fever: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, 20 June 2017, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/160665.php.