Hay fever | Symptoms, Causes & Treatment
Hay fever What You Need to Know
Hay fever is a common type of allergy to pollen, mainly from grass, but other plants can also trigger it. This allergy happens when your immune system reacts to pollen by releasing histamine and other chemicals in your body.
Usually to grass pollen affecting people in June and July but sometimes to other pollens, tree pollens in the spring and weed and mould pollens in the autumn.
About 2 out of 10 people have hay fever. In the UK, more than 10 million people are affected. You're more likely to get hay fever if allergies run in your family, or if you have asthma or eczema. Most people develop hay fever as kids or teenagers, but it can start at any age. Many people find that their hay fever symptoms become milder as they grow older.
Why is it called hay fever
"Hay fever," which is a colloquial term, refers to allergic rhinitis, an allergic response to airborne allergens like pollen. The term is misleading because it doesn't involve hay or fever. It originated from historical observations of symptoms coinciding with hay harvests, even though the allergens are primarily pollen from plants.
Hay fever season in UK
Hay fever season in the UK typically spans from March to September. The timing of this season can fluctuate based on the weather, while the primary pollen types triggering hay fever in the UK are as follows:
1. Tree Pollen: This begins in late March and can extend until mid-May. Prominent tree pollen allergens in the UK originate from trees like birch, oak, hazel, and plane.
2. Grass Pollen: The leading cause of hay fever in the UK. The grass pollen season typically initiates around mid-May and lingers until July.
3. Weed Pollen: This phase often commences in late June and persists until September. Common weed pollen allergens in the UK encompass ragweed, nettle, and mug wort.
Symptoms of Hay fever
Hay fever symptoms usually start once the pollen grains reach a certain level of about ten grains per cubic millimeter. Symptoms of hay fever include frequent sneezing, a runny or stuffy nose, itchy eyes, and an itchy throat, mouth, nose, and ears. Sometimes you might lose your sense of smell, feel facial pain, sweat, or get headaches, but these symptoms are less common. If you have asthma, your symptoms might worsen during hay fever season, causing chest tightness, shortness of breath, coughing, and wheezing.
Signs of hay fever include:
- Frequent sneezing and coughing
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Itchy, red, or watery eyes
- Itchy throat, mouth, nose, and ears
- Can't smell well,Feeling tired
- Pain around temples and forehead
- Sweat & Headache,Earache
If you have asthma, you might also:
Feel your chest is tight
Have trouble breathing
Wheeze and cough
Hay fever can last for weeks or months, unlike a cold that usually goes away in 1 to 2 weeks.
Relief and prevention of hay fever
To minimize symptoms:
Reduce Allergen Exposure: Stay indoors on windy days, clean regularly, and limit pets in sleeping areas.
Medication Usage: Utilize over-the-counter or prescribed treatments as needed.
Allergist Consultation: Seek expert advice for severe symptoms or inadequate response to medication.
Advice when pollen is high:
- Try to stay inside when pollen is high or on windy days.
• Keep windows and doors closed. Use an air conditioner or special filter to clean the air in your home.
• Don't do outdoor chores like mowing or gardening when pollen is high.
• Wear a mask or scarf over your nose and mouth when you go out.
• Take a shower and change clothes after being outside.
• Use saltwater sprays to wash pollen out of your nose.
• Try medicines like antihistamines, decongestants, nasal sprays, or eye drops for relief.
• Talk to your doctor about allergy shots to help your body handle pollen better.
Additional tips for symptom relief and prevention:
Maintain hand hygiene to remove allergens.
Shower and change clothes after outdoor activities to cleanse skin and attire.
Use pollen filters in cars and vacuums to trap and limit pollen spread.
Keep windows shut during windy periods to prevent pollen infiltration.
Wear sunglasses to safeguard eyes from allergens.
Remember, consistent efforts can alleviate hay fever discomfort and enhance overall well-being.
Best Antihistamine for hay fever
While there's no permanent cure, you can still tame those symptoms. Best bet to dodge it is to stay away from pollen, but that's not always easy, especially in summer. So, lots of folks turn to antihistamines. They stop the allergy from acting up.Then there are corticosteroids,which calm down the puffiness and swelling caused by the pollen trouble.
Don't forget about eye drops – they can lend a hand too. You'll probably find what you need at the store to soothe your hay fever. But if things get really tricky, it's smart to chat with your doctor. They can sort you out with something stronger.
Since you may need prescription medicine such as:
1.Beconase Aqueous Nasal Spray - Type of corticosteroid nasal spray.
Used to control inflammatory response from allergic rhinitis. Used in the nose only.
2.Avamys Relief Nasal Spray - Nasal spray to relieve blocked or runny nose.
Effective treatment for hay fever. Used in the nose only
3.Dymista Nasal Spray- Type of combination treatment which contains an antihistamine and corticosteroid. Used to control inflammatory response from allergic rhinitis. Used in the nose only.
4.Nasonex - Type of corticosteroid nasal spray. Used to control inflammatory response from allergic rhinitis. Used in the nose only.
5.Rhinolast - Type of antihistamine nasal spray. Used to treat allergic rhinitis. Used in the nose only.
6.Fexofenadine Tablets - Less likely to cause drowsiness than other antihistamines. Oral use only.
Warning: The thing to avoid though is taking a sedating antihistamine. If you do that, then you may be sleepy, your driving ability may be impaired and you’re working and academic ability may also be impacted even if you don't feel sleepy
How to stop hay fever immediately
For anything more mild disease, the first-line treatment of choice is an intranasal steroid spray. It's very sensible to start this before the hay fever season starts, at least a couple of weeks before the patient normally gets symptoms, and it's much better taken every single day without fail.
They last throughout the season but they will vary from day to day because the pollen count varies according to the weather. It will go down if it rains hard or if it's cold, it will be high if it's a very warm, sunny day.Treatments are available for hay fever.
For very mild diseases, then an antihistamine taken as required is fine. And there are perfectly good antihistamines available over the counter at pharmacists.
How long does hay fever last
They last throughout the season but they will vary from day to day because the pollen count varies according to the weather. It will go down if it rains hard or if it's cold, it will be high if it's a very warm sunny day.
How to stop hay fever immediately
Hay fever relief involves various steps, though an instant halt isn't possible. Employ these tactics to ease symptoms:
- Take non-prescription antihistamines like Rhinolast (Mylan) or Dymista Nasal Spray (Mylan) to counter histamine release causing allergies.
- Reduce nasal inflammation with sprays like Beconase Aqueous Nasal Spray (gsk) or Nasonex (MSD).
- Consult a doctor if over-the-counter meds aren't effective, especially for severe symptoms.
How to cure hay fever permanently
Hay fever is chronic and incurable, but manageable with medications and lifestyle changes.
How can Check if i have hay fever
There's often no need to do any particular test. If, however the symptoms are not so sure or they're on a background of chronic symptoms, it may be worthwhile undertaking tests for specific IGE, that's the allergy antibody against the relevant pollen. You can do that on the patient by skin-prick testing. Hay fever can really steal summer away from patients.
It's pretty easy to recognize that people who don't have any problems all year round and who suddenly have problems in June and July have hay fever.
If you have a nose which runs every time you go out, eyes which itch, a nose which black up so you can't talk properly, then the summer becomes a misery and the patient ends up staying indoors, unable to go out and have fun, and sometimes even severely affected enough to be unable to go to work or school.
The intensity of the hay fever season may vary between years, influenced by changes in weather patterns. Factors such as warmer winters and wetter springs can spur increased pollen production.Symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes.
Health Professionals suggest treatments like antihistamines and intranasal sprays. To prevent symptoms, staying indoors during peak pollen times and using filters are recommended. Prescription options like Beconase Aqueous Nasal Spray are available. The term "hay fever" is clarified, concluding by highlighting its chronic nature and advocating for effective symptom management.