Spring Allergies: Understanding Hay Fever and What to Do When it Attacks

Springtime is here. Most of us are excited about the warmer weather and sunshine. However, many do not share the excitement as they prepare for a season of allergic misery.

hay fever

Spring is when trees start to bloom, and pollen spreads into the atmosphere. It is reported that upwards of over 50 million American suffer from seasonal rhinitis (more commonly known as hay fever).

Allergic Rhinitis or “Hay Fever”

Despite hay fever’s name, it doesn’t imply that the person suffering from it is allergic to hay and has a fever. Hay fever is a condition showing signs and symptoms similar to a cold, but with congestion, sneezing, runny nose, sinus pressures, and itchy eyes.

Causes

Pollen is most frequently associated as a cause of hay fever. The culprit is fine grains produced by trees, plants or flowers to fertilize other trees, plants or flowers. When these grains enter the nose of someone who might be allergic to pollen, the immune system sees them as invaders. The result of the body recognizing such invaders is that antibodies are released to fight the allergens. Antibodies, while they have good intentions, are the actual cause of the allergic reaction.

As the antibodies attack the allergens, chemicals such as “histamines” are released into the blood. Histamines are the ones responsible for itchy eyes and other symptoms of allergies.

Symptoms

  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Itchy eyes, nose, mouth, throat, or skin
  • Coughing
  • Diminished sense of smell and clogged ears
  • Dark circles under the eyes
  • Nasal congestion
  • Irritability and fatigue
  • Headache
  • Sore throat

Solutions

There is no instant cure for hay fever, but there are ways proven to diminish it.

  1. Antihistamine Nasal Sprays – Antihistamines block the histamine. However, sprays are only recommended for mild symptoms and require regular use any time symptoms recur.
  2. Antihistamine Tablets or Liquids – Although not so good at alleviating nasal congestion, antihistamine tablets often help with itchy eyes and sneezing.
  3. Eye Drops – Eye drops can offer itchy eye relief but do not help with any other symptoms.
  4. Sublingual immunotherapy – The staff at Family Allergy Clinic offers pain-free under-the-tongue drops for a more permanent solution for all of your hay fever symptoms.