Sign and Symptoms of Hayfever

Written By All Video Subscribers on Wednesday, September 8, 2010 | 11:05 AM

Sign and Symptoms of Hayfever

Hay fever symptoms vary in severity and your symptoms may be worse some years than others, depending on the weather conditions and the pollen count (see below).

Hay fever is formally known as seasonal allergic rhinitis and can present many different symptoms, including ones shared with other ailments. It occurs as a response to allergens such as pollen, which then get into the throat, eyes and nose.

Hay fever is a common allergic disease, with anywhere from 15 to 20 percent of the population suffering from hay fever. Symptoms can range from mild to severe, which means that many people may put off going to see a doctor with the thought that symptoms are simply too mild to warrant attention.

Left untreated, however, hay fever symptoms can worsen and may also impact a person’s work, home and family life. Hay fever causes a range of symptoms but these tend to be centred in the upper respiratory tract and facial area. Inflammation and painful irritation around the nose, throat and eyes often occurs.

Hay fever tends to appear during the pre-adolescent years and may peak during the twenties and thirties, before easing or disappearing. Some of the common symptoms of hay fever include:

    * Sneezing

    * Runny nose

    * Itchy bloodshot eyes

    * Stuffed up nose

    * Itching around the face and mouth

    * Exhaustion

    * Blocked sensation in ears

    * Headache

    * Wheezing

    * Burning in the throat

An overall achy feeling, or pressure in the entire face area can occur, with the sinus area being most painful. Constant nose rubbing and blowing can also leave a person with skin irritation and sensitivity.

Seasonal

Hay fever is generally a seasonal condition, affecting people mostly during the spring and summer months. Most people will notice a pattern of occurrence that begins in the spring months, peaks during the summer and fades as autumn approaches.

Hay fever may occur daily, or intermittently, but its presence can lead to missed days off work, irritability, depression and anxiety. This is due, not only to the pain and discomfort from the symptoms themselves, but also from the social anxiety related to a runny nose, bloodshot eyes and facial redness.

Hay fever sufferers often cite self-consciousness as a major issue related to hay fever and these symptoms can lead to the anxiety, withdrawal and depression.

Year-Round

Perennial allergic rhinitis, unlike seasonal allergic rhinitis, occurs year round. The majority of people who suffer from hay fever, however, will find they have the seasonal variety.

Those who do suffer from hay fever year round tend to be sensitive to allergens that aren’t exclusive to the summer and spring months. These include dust mites and pets.

For most people, symptoms of hay fever can be prevented or treated. Unfortunately, symptoms may go ignored, particularly when they are mild, but their continual presence can still subtly affect how a person functions each day.

Those who experience severe symptoms may find that the constant irritation and discomfort compromises their ability to function at work, school or socially.

If you have been suffering from hay fever symptoms, don’t ignore them. Instead, see your doctor as he or she can accurately determine if you do indeed have hay fever, and will also offer over-the-counter or prescription drugs, as well as suggestions to prevent or naturally treat hay fever.

The sooner you obtain medical advice, the sooner you can relieve your symptoms and get back to a life free from the pain and irritation of hay fever.
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Best Treatment for Hay Fever – Latest Research

Best Treatment for Hay Fever – Latest Research

The best way to control most allergies is to avoid the trigger substance. However, it is very difficult to avoid pollen, particularly during the summer months when you want to spend more time outdoors.

The best hay fever treatment is to avoid the substances that cause your reaction. However, this isn’t always possible, and you may need additional treatments along with strategies to prevent exposure.

If your hay fever isn’t too severe, over-the-counter medications may be enough to ease your symptoms. For more bothersome symptoms, you may need to take prescription medications. Many people get the best relief from a combination of allergy medications. It may take trying a few before you figure out what works best for you.

If your child has hay fever, talk with your doctor about the best treatment. Some medications are approved for use in children, while others are approved only for adults. If you want to try an over-the-counter medication for your child, be sure to read the labels carefully.

Medications for hay fever include:

Nasal corticosteroids.

These prescription nasal sprays help prevent and treat the nasal inflammation, nasal itching and runny nose caused by hay fever. For many people they’re the most effective hay fever medications, and they’re often the first type of medication prescribed. Examples include fluticasone propionate (Flonase), fluticasone furoate (Veramyst), mometasone (Nasonex) and beclomethasone (Beconase). Nasal corticosteroids are a safe long-term treatment for most people. Side effects can include an unpleasant smell or taste and nose irritation.

Antihistamines.

These preparations are usually given as pills. However, there are also antihistamine nasal sprays and eyedrops. Antihistamines can help with itching, sneezing and runny nose, but have less effect on congestion. They work by blocking histamine, a symptom-causing chemical released by your immune system during an allergic reaction. Older over-the-counter antihistamines such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) work as well as newer ones, but some types can make you drowsy.

Newer oral antihistamines are less likely to make you drowsy. Over-the-counter examples include loratadine (Claritin, Alavert) and cetirizine (Zyrtec). Fexofenadine (Allegra) is available by prescription. The prescription antihistamine nasal sprays azelastine (Astelin, Astepro) and olopatadine (Patanase) can relieve nasal symptoms. Olopatadine eyedrops (Patanol, Pataday) help relieve eye itchiness and eye irritation caused by hay fever.

Decongestants.

These medications are available in over-the-counter and prescription liquids, tablets and nasal sprays. Over-the-counter oral decongestants include Sudafed, Actifed and Drixoral. Nasal sprays include phenylephrine (Neo-Synephrine) and oxymetazoline (Afrin). Oral decongestants can cause a number of side effects, including increased blood pressure, insomnia, irritability and headache. Don’t use a decongestant nasal spray for more than two or three days at a time because it can actually worsen symptoms when used continuously (rebound congestion).

Cromolyn sodium.

This medication (NasalCrom) is available as an over-the-counter nasal spray that must be used several times a day. It’s also available in eyedrop form with a prescription (Crolom). It helps relieve hay fever symptoms by preventing the release of histamine. Cromolyn sodium doesn’t have serious side effects, and it’s most effective when you begin using it before your symptoms start.

Leukotriene Modifier.

Montelukast (Singulair) is a prescription tablet taken to block the action of leukotrienes — immune system chemicals that cause allergy symptoms such as excess mucus production. It’s especially effective in treating allergy-induced asthma. It’s often used when nasal sprays can’t be tolerated, or when mild asthma is present. It can cause headaches. Less common side effects include abdominal pain, cough, tooth pain and dizziness. In rare cases, montelukast has been linked to psychological reactions such as agitation, aggression, hallucinations, depression and suicidal thinking. Seek medical advice right away for any unusual psychological reaction.

Nasal ipratropium.

Available in a prescription nasal spray, ipratropium (Atrovent) helps relieve a severe runny nose by preventing the glands in your nose from producing excess fluid. It’s not effective for treating congestion, sneezing or postnasal drip. Mild side effects include nasal dryness, nosebleeds and sore throat. Rarely, it can cause more severe side effects such as blurred vision, dizziness and difficult urination. The drug is not recommended for people with glaucoma or men with an enlarged prostate.

Oral corticosteroids.

Corticosteroid medications in pill form, such as prednisone, are sometimes used to relieve severe allergy symptoms. Because the long-term use of oral corticosteroids can cause serious side effects such as cataracts, osteoporosis and muscle weakness, they’re usually prescribed for only short periods of time.

Other Treatments for Hay Fever Include:

Immunotherapy.

If medications don’t relieve your hay fever symptoms, your doctor may recommend allergy shots (immunotherapy or desensitization therapy). Over a period of three to five years, you’ll receive regular injections containing tiny amounts of allergens. The goal is to get your body used to the allergens that cause your symptoms, and decrease your need for medications. Immunotherapy may be especially effective if you’re allergic to cat dander, dust mites, or pollen produced by trees, grass or weeds. In children, immunotherapy may help prevent the development of asthma.

Rinsing Your Sinuses.

Rinsing your nasal passages with salty water (nasal irrigation) is a quick, inexpensive and very effective way to relieve nasal congestion. Rinsing directly flushes out mucus and allergens from your nose. Look for a squeeze bottle (bulb syringe) or a neti pot — a small container with a spout designed for nose rinsing — at your pharmacy or health food store. Use an over-the-counter nasal saline solution or prepare your own saltwater solution using about 1/4 teaspoon of salt mixed with 2 cups (473 milliliters) of warm water.
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What is Hay Fever?

What is Hay Fever? | Hay Fever Overview

Hayfever is the common name given to allergic reactions caused by the pollen of a number of different plants. The name comes from the fact that the season when hay is made is also the season where airborne pollen is most predominant in most regions of the world, and so is the time of year when hayfever symptoms are most often seen. There are a number of plants best known for causing hayfever, but virtually any wind-pollinating plant can cause an allergic reaction.

The biggest villains in hayfever each year tend to be grasses, with a wide range of people allergic to some very common grasses. Of note are both timothy grass, or Phleum pratense, and ryegrass, or Lolium sp.. Common weed species are also responsible for some of the worst cases of hayfever each year. Particular nuisances include species like plantain, or Plantago, ragweed, or Abrosia, mugwort, or Artemisia, sorrel, or Rumex, and nettle, or Urticaceae. A number of common trees may also provoke hayfever in sensitive individuals, including willow, poplar, hazel, alder, cedar, and birch.

Hayfever symptoms vary from person to person. Some people may suffer a runny nose or sinus congestion. Others may have itchy eyes and sneezing.

The time of year that hayfever sets in will differ depending on the region, the weather, and what species the sufferer is allergic to. The majority of wind-borne pollinators come into their full pollination sometime beginning in mid-spring and continuing through the summer. Some species, however, may enter full pollination in fall or winter, and some may have extremely short or extremely long windows. Depending on the species one is allergic to, living in the same place may afford the opportunity to predict when hayfever will be particularly bad, allowing a sufferer to prepare through medication, staying indoors, or leaving the area temporarily.

Since the pollen that causes hayfever is carried on the wind, meteorological conditions play a large part in how bad a hayfever season might be for an individual. For example, in damp or wet weather, the majority of pollen will simply be washed away or kept close to the ground, so that a hayfever reaction is unlikely. In cooler weather pollen won’t spread nearly as far, leading to reduced symptoms. On hot, dry days, however, especially breezy days, pollen will spread far and wide, exacerbating hayfever symptoms for all sufferers.

It is easy, as well, to mistake hayfever allergies for simple dust allergies. Often dust allergies become worst in the same environmental conditions as hayfever, making it sometimes difficult to determine what is causing the allergic reaction. At the same time, many people who are allergic to pollen are also allergic to dust, so an onset of hayfever may be a combined reaction to both dust and pollen freely floating in the air.

Treatment of hayfever primarily involves trying to reduce exposure to the pollen that causes the onset of symptoms. The easiest way to do this is simply to stay indoors during hayfever season, especially on the hottest, driest, and breeziest days. Some sort of indoor filter can help immensely, either a filter specifically designed to take airborne particles out of the air, or a simple air conditioner. Regular bathing, washing of clothes, and nasal irrigation can also help eliminate residual allergens. For those who can’t limit their exposure to the allergens, hayfever symptoms can be reduced by taking mediators like antihistamines, which help prevent the worst of the body’s allergic response.
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Causes of Hay Fever – Recherche

Causes of Hay Fever – Recherche

Every summer thousands of people in the UK brace themselves for a battle against sore eyes, a runny nose and bouts of sneezing. Hay fever, also known as seasonal allergic rhinitis, is no fun at all. Although these days we have a variety of effective ways to tackle the unpleasant symptoms, it’s still useful to know exactly what the causes of hay fever are.

Hay fever, like all allergic reactions, is caused by allergens, foreign “invaders” that enter your body by inhalation, by swallowing, or through your skin.

    * In hay fever, the allergens are airborne substances that enter your airways (mouth, nose, throat, and lungs) via your breathing and the linings of your eyes and sometimes ears via direct contact.
    * Most of the time it is difficult to identify a specific allergen.
    * Once these allergens come in contact with your airway, the white blood cells of your immune system produce antibodies to the offending substance. This overreaction to a harmless substance is often called a hypersensitivity reaction.
          o The antibody, called immunoglobulin E, or IgE, is stored on special cells called mast cells.
          o When the antibody comes in contact with the corresponding antigen, they promote release of chemicals and hormones called “mediators.” Histamine is an example of a mediator.
          o It is the effects of these mediators on organs and other cells that cause the symptoms of the allergic reaction, in this case hay fever.
          o The most common allergens in hay fever are pollens.
               1. Some species pollinate in the spring and others in the late summer and early fall.
               2. Generally, the farther north a plant is, the later in the season it pollinates.
                + Pollen is small particles released by flowering plants.
                + It is moved around by wind to other plants of the same species, which it fertilizes so that the plant can bloom again.
                + Pollens from certain types of trees, grasses, and weeds (such as ragweed) are most likely to cause reactions. Pollens from other types of plants are less allergenic.
                + The time of year when a particular species of plant releases pollen, or “pollinates,” depends on the local climate and what it normal for that species.

Variations in temperature and rainfall from year to year affect how much pollen is in the air in any given season.

    * The other common allergens in hay fever are molds.
          o Molds are a type of fungus that has no stems, roots, or leaves.
          o Mold spores float through the air like pollen until they find a hospitable environment to grow.
          o Unlike pollen, however, molds do not have a season. They are present throughout the year in most of the United States.
          o Molds grow both outdoors and indoors.
         1. Outdoors, they thrive in soil, vegetation, and rotting wood.
         2. Indoors, molds (usually called mildew) live in places where air does not circulate freely, such as attics and basements, moist places such as bathrooms, and places where foods are stored, prepared, or discarded.
    * The amounts of pollen and molds in the air are measured daily in many areas around the United States and reported by the National Allergy Bureau.
          o The pollen and mold counts at which people develop allergic symptoms vary quite a lot by individual.
          o Pollen and mold counts are not very helpful in predicting how a specific person will react.
    * Risk factors for hay fever
          o Family members with hay fever
          o Repeated exposure to the allergen
          o Other allergic conditions such as eczema or asthma
          o Nasal polyps (small noncancerous growths in the lining of the nose)
    * The allergens that cause symptoms in an individual as he or she ages. Symptoms decrease in some allergy sufferers, but not all, as they grow older.
    * Bodily changes of pregnancy may make hay fever worse.
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