What is hay fever?
Allergic rhinitis and hay fevers are the same things. Hay fever is a common condition. It shares similar symptoms with the common cold. A person suffering from allergic rhinitis may experience a runny nose, congestion, sneezing, and pressure in the sinus.
Allergic rhinitis occurs as an allergic response to pollen and other airborne substances. According to a 2015 study published in the Journal of Clinical and Translational Allergy, over 13 million UK citizens are affected by hay fever. This condition may be seasonal perennial or occupational.
You see, the name of this condition is slightly misleading. It is called hay fever, but this doesn’t mean that the affected person is allergic to hay.
Neither does it mean that he or she has a fever.
Fever is not a symptom of this condition. This article will discuss the basics of hay fever or allergic rhinitis.
What are the common triggers for hay fever?
There are variations in the symptoms of hay fever. Your symptoms will depend on where you live and your allergies. Having a perfect understanding of these factors will help you to prepare adequately for your symptoms.
People with seasonal allergies are usually affected by early springtime, but nature blooms at different times of the year. For instance:
- there’s a lot of tree pollen in the early spring
- pollen allergies are usually terrible on hot days and dry days.
- There’s more grass pollen in late spring and summer.
For people who are allergic to indoor allergens, hay fever symptoms may occur all year round. Examples of indoor allergens are:
- Fungal spores
- Pet dander
- Dust mites
In some cases, these symptoms may appear seasonally. People that have mould spore allergies experience worse symptoms during humid weather.
What are the symptoms of hay fever?
You may experience the symptoms at different times of the year. This depends on your allergy.
People who have pollen allergies tend to experience severer symptoms when there’s a high pollen count.
Common symptoms of hay fever include:
- Itchy throat
- Watery eyes
- A runny or itchy or blocked nose
More serious symptoms include:
- Loss of taste and smell
- Itchiness that starts from the throat and spreads to the ears and nose
- Pains in the face due to blockage of the sinuses
In other instances, patients may experience irritability, insomnia, or fatigue. Asthmatic patients may experience breathlessness or wheezing.
Can hay fever be managed?
Several over-the-counter medicines can manage allergic rhinitis. In many cases, it is best to combine two or three medications.
Your healthcare provider will guide you appropriately. AccessDoctor also offers online consultation services where our UK-trained doctors will guide you on managing your hay fever.
How can you manage hay fever?
Hay fever can be managed with medications, sprays, and eye drops, or lifestyle changes.
Medications for hay fever include:
Nasal corticosteroids: They are available in the form of sprays. They treat hay fever inflammation. Nasal corticosteroids can be used as a long-term treatment. The effects may take a week to show.
Antihistamine sprays: They are available as OTC. These sprays inhibit the release of histamine, a kind of chemical. Antihistamines can relieve symptoms such as sneezing, itching, or runny nose. However, these symptoms will not relieve sinus congestion.
Oral corticosteroids: severe symptoms of allergic rhinitis can be relieved with prednisone tablets. Oral corticosteroids are prescription medicines and are only recommended for short-term use. Prolonged use is associated with weakness of the muscle, osteoporosis, and cataracts.
Antihistamine tablets: They are available as OTC. These sprays inhibit the release of histamine, a kind of chemical. Antihistamines can relieve symptoms such as sneezing, itching, or runny nose. However, these symptoms will not relieve sinus congestion.
Eye drops: Eyedrops reduce swelling and itching in the eyes. These drops are usually combined with other medications.
Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy desensitises your immune system to potential allergens. It provides long-term relief. Immunotherapy is usually administered as sublingual drops (placed under the tongue) or as allergy shots.
Immunotherapy may result in permanent remission of your allergy symptoms. It may also stop new allergies from developing.
Your doctor can only administer your injections. However, sublingual immunotherapy can be taken by you at home.
There are many home care plans and treatments to help relieve your symptoms. You can minimise contact with mould and dust by carrying out regular cleaning and airing of your rooms for a start.
Other important lifestyle modifications include:
- Closing your windows to prevent the entry of pollen
- Washing your hands after holding or grooming your pets
- Controlling mould with a humidifier
- Covering your eyes with sunglasses when you are in the open
You can relieve congestion with saline sprays or a neti pot.
There is a very high incidence of hay fever in the UK. At least 1 in 5 people suffer from it. What’s more? Over 13 million people suffer from hay fever in the UK. It would help if you worked together with your healthcare provider to get the right treatment.
Access Doctor offers online consultations for hay fever. We have well-trained UK doctors in our employ who are willing to help you. We also provide the best quality hay fever treatments you can get within 24 hours of ordering. Choose the treatment(s) below and start your free online consultation: