Anyone who suffers from hay fever knows that it can turn the otherwise pleasant transition from winter to spring into a nightmare. Along with the warmer weather and sunshine, symptoms such as a runny nose, sneezing and eye irritation can occur.
Trees and grasses release their pollen from April to June, which is the peak time for symptomatic hay fever. Some trees, such as B. willows, begin to shed pollen as early as February, and some weeds continue well into September. While you may not be sensitive to all types of pollen, you may experience uncomfortable symptoms on days with a high pollen count (a measure of the average number of pollen grains per cubic meter squared).
Some ways to reduce your hay fever symptoms include antihistamines or steroids, whether in pill, drop, or spray form. You can also reduce the amount of pollen in your indoor spaces with one of the best air purifierwhich help trap pollen before it can irritate your immune system.
What is hay fever?
Max Wiseberg, airborne allergen expert and creator of HayMax (opens in new tab), explains that hay fever, or seasonal allergic rhinitis, is an allergic reaction to pollen. “Most people who suffer from hay fever are allergic to grass pollen, and many are allergic to tree pollen,” he says. “Hay fever is a result of our immune system overreacting to harmless antigens such as pollen. These antigens stimulate the body’s mast cells, which then break down or degranulate and release mediators, which include histamines. These messengers can cause the uncomfortable itching, redness, inflammation and other hay fever symptoms.”
Symptoms of hay fever can also include a general feeling of pain or a build-up of pressure all over the face. “The sinus area is often the most painful area,” says Wiseberg. “Constant rubbing and blowing of the nose can cause skin irritation and sensitivity in sufferers. All of this can lead to tiredness, fatigue and exhaustion.”
Hay fever can also cause trouble falling asleep and other sleep disorders. “These symptoms, in turn, can affect your energy levels, leaving you feeling low and sluggish,” adds Wiseberg. “Patients with chronic hay fever may experience more severe or prolonged symptoms.”
Do you need easy breathing in the warmer months? Check out our guide to the The best air purifiers for allergies to capture unwanted allergens and pollutants.
hay fever symptoms
Hay fever symptoms are caused by our immune system’s response to the perceived threat of pollen in our system. Although most pollen is not harmful to us, our immune system recognizes microscopic pollen particles that enter our airways when we breathe and triggers immune responses to eliminate them. As a result, your eyes and nose will itch and water, and you may sneeze or cough as your body tries to get rid of the pollen.
Some common symptoms of hay fever are:
- Sore, swollen eyes
- Runny or stuffy nose
- sneezing and coughing
- Itchy nose, mouth, throat, ears and eyes
- tiredness and exhaustion
- sinus pressure
If you suffer from asthma, you may find that pollen is a trigger for your asthma symptoms. A study in Annals of Otology, Rhinology and Laryngology (opens in new tab) found that hay fever is common in asthmatics.
Hay Fever: Tests and Diagnosis
If you experience one or a combination of the above symptoms at the same time every year, you can be fairly certain that you have hay fever. Most treatments do not require a prescription, but it might be worth speaking to a professional to make sure you choose the right one for you.
Weiseberg advises. “There are many tests out there, but the best way to diagnose hay fever is to talk to your doctor or pharmacist and then ask them to test it,” he says. “If your allergy is severe, you should ask for a referral to an allergist.”
How can you treat hay fever?
While there is no “cure” for hay fever, there are several ways to deal with it. You may find some jobs better for you than others, so it’s all about finding the right treatment for you. #
“Several different groups of drugs have been developed to treat allergies,” says Wiseberg. The most common are:
- Antihistamine tablets and capsules – these can relieve most hay fever symptoms, including sneezing, itchy, watery eyes, skin irritation, itchy nose and throat, but are less effective for nasal congestion.
- Antihistamine nasal sprays – these can provide quick relief from itching, sneezing, and tearing, but usually only provide evidence against mild symptoms.
- steroid nasal sprays and drops – these reduce inflammation in the nose; They are best for eliminating nasal symptoms such as itching, sneezing, tearing and congestion. Sprays sometimes eliminate eye symptoms as well.
- Eye drops – can reduce itchy, watery, swollen eyes.
- Other, somewhat rarer forms of conventional medicine for hay fever are nasal rinses.
Most tablets, sprays, and drops can be taken individually or in combination to help manage hay fever symptoms.
“And just like other medications, there are many different brands of each type of hay fever medication, so don’t give up if the first thing you try doesn’t work for you; You might find another version that works better,” adds Wiseberg.
Can you outgrow hay fever?
Hay fever is unusual in that symptoms can sometimes improve with age. This may be because our immune systems develop low levels of exposure to allergens over time, which develops a tolerance, so those who contracted hay fever as children may not experience it, or not as much as adults. A study in Allergy and asthma procedures (opens in new tab) found that when participants were surveyed 23 years after the original study, the majority (84.8%) reported improvements in their hay fever symptoms.
Additional burden of disease from hay fever and sinusitis in asthma, (opens in new tab) Annals of Otology, Rhinology and Laryngology, 2009
Natural history of hay fever: a 23-year follow-up of college students (opens in new tab)Allergy and Asthma Procedures, 1998
https://www.livescience.com/46015-hay-fever.html Hay Fever & Seasonal Allergies: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment