About Hay Fever
Hay fever which is medically referred to as Allergic Rhinitis is a benign condition in which various allergens in the atmosphere enter the body and cause and allergic reaction. The most common allergen that results in Hay fever is pollen which is normally found in abundance in the atmosphere during summer and spring seasons.
Hay Fever is most common during seasonal changes from winter to summer. Hay Fever is such a common condition that almost everyone gets this condition at one time or the other. Hay Fever is quite annoying and impacts performance of the affected individual at work or at school. There is no age barrier for Hay Fever. Children and adults both are vulnerable to get this.
The common symptoms of Hay Fever include.
- Frequent bouts of intense sneezing
- Runny nose with postnasal drip
- Nasal congestion
- Bouts of coughing
- Itchy and irritated throat
- Eye irritation with continuous flow of liquid from the eyes
- Bluish discoloration under the eyes
- Bouts of headaches
- Always feeling fatigued
The onset of these symptoms can be immediate or gradual depending on the type of allergen. Symptoms like fatigue and headaches happen much later into the condition but the remaining symptoms come on pretty quickly.
While some people who have a very strong immune system may not experience any symptoms while other may have symptoms throughout the year. This article gives a brief overview of some of the causes of Hay Fever and what can be done about it.
What are the Causes for Hay Fever?
Environmental allergens are the primary cause of Hay Fever. When the allergen enters the body it activates the immune system who tries to fight off the invader. This results in the production of histamines. It is this chemical released that causes the symptoms of Hay Fever.
The most common allergen responsible for Hay Fever is tree and grass pollen. These pollens can be found in abundance in the summer and spring seasons. Additionally, dust mites and insects like cockroaches also have pollens and lead to allergic conditions like Hay Fever.
People who have pets at their homes can come in contact with allergens causing Hay Fever through saliva and pet dander. Molds are also one of the common causes of Hay Fever. Inhaling spores of mold is the most common way of coming in contact with this allergen. Pollens become extremely active during certain times of the year especially spring, summer and fall.
Even though anybody can be affected with Hay Fever but people with a family history of allergies are more prone to get this condition. Asthmatic individuals are also at increased risk for getting Hay Fever. There are also certain factors which make the condition worse or activate the condition to include
- Exposure to certain toxic chemicals
- Extreme weather conditions
- Excess humidity
- Windy conditions
- Lighting firewood at home
- Exposure to excess fumes
What Can Be Done To Get Rid of Hay Fever?
There are various options to get rid of Hay Fever by way of medications and injections. The most preferred medications for treatment of Hay fever include.
Antihistamines. The symptoms of Hay Fever begin when the immune system of the body produces histamines. Antihistamines work by preventing the production of this chemical and providing symptoms relief. Antihistamines can be bought over the counter from any pharmacy. The most preferred antihistamines for treatment of Hay Fever are Allegra, Claritin, and Benadryl. It should be ensured that a consultation with a physician should be done before starting any medication.
Decongestants. This is yet another treatment option for Hay Fever. Decongestants come in basically two forms nasal sprays and oral. The most preferred oral and nasal decongestants include Afrin Nasal Spray, Sudafed, and Zyrtec.
Individuals with hypertension, circulatory problems, renal dysfunction, or cardiac conditions need to consult with their physicians before starting any form of decongestants. It should be noted that both nasal sprays and oral decongestants should not be taken for more than two to three days as it may then lead to worsening of the condition.
Allergy Shots. This form of treatment for hay fever is reserved for only those individuals who have extreme sensitivity to environmental allergens and even little exposure can cause symptoms. It is also given as a precautionary measure to travelers who wish to go out of country specifically to continents like Asia and Africa.
The purpose of these shots is to decrease the immune reactions to certain environmental allergens and decrease the likelihood of any symptoms even with exposure to allergens. Allergy shots are also given to those individuals who do not find other forms of treatment to be ineffective. In such cases, allergy shots are given over a prolonged period of time and are given in phases.
In the first phase, the individual will get up to three shots every week for at least a period of six months. This frequency will be reduced then to one shot every three years. This is also called as the maintenance phase. Once it is observed that the body stops reacting to any allergen in the way of symptoms then the treatment is stopped.
It should be noted that after giving an allergy shot the patient is asked to wait for about half an hour to ensure that he or she does not have a reaction to the medication which may lead to life threatening complications.