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Hay Fever: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Hay fever or also known as allergic rhinitis is a common allergic condition. It affects 30% of the people worldwide. Hay fever can be seasonal, perennial or occupational. It affects people of any age, although it usually starts in childhood and during teenage years according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Symptoms of Hay Fever

Symptoms of hay fever start immediately after exposure to triggers. Common symptoms are:

  • sore throat
  • clogged ears
  • decreased sense of smell
  • allergic shiners, or dark circles under the eyes
  • headaches
  • fatigue
  • puffiness under the eyes
  • irritability
  • sneezing
  • nose, eye itching
  • nasal congestion

Hay fever can be associated with:

  • Sleep disorder
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Limited activities
  • Impaired hand-eye coordination
  • Sinus inflammation
  • Ear infection
  • Asthma symptoms
  • Allergic conjunctivitis

Causes of Hay Fever

Common hay fever results from an exposure to allergens such as:

  • Pollen from trees, grass and weeds
  • Pet dander and fur
  • Irritants like cigarette smoke and perfume
  • Mold and fungi
  • Dust mites

The allergens will trigger the immune system where the immune system will identify the allergen as something harmful.

Hay Fever Diagnosis

Diagnosis is done by an Allergist. Your allergist may get your detailed information and will look for clues that may have caused the symptoms. Your allergist may recommend you to have a skin test.

Treatment for Hay Fever

There is no treatment for hay fever but you can do something to help relieve the symptoms.

  • Avoidance- Avoid the allergens that triggers the symptoms
  • Lifestyle change- cleaning and airing room regularly, washing of hand after holding a pet
  • Medication
  • Antihistamines to help relieve nasal congestions, sneezing, water eyes and runny nose
  • Intranasal corticosteroids to reduce runny nose, sneezing and itching
  • Decongestants to relieve the pressure and stuffiness caused by swollen nasal tissue
  • Nasal spray to help counteract the symptoms of hay fever. It can be used as often as needed unlike decongestants
  • Immunotherapy
  • Allergy shots consist of diluted allergy extract
  • Sublingual tablets

Self-help Tips

  1. When the pollen count is high stay indoors
  2. Take a shower and change your clothes after going outdoor
  3. Wear sunglasses so pollen won’t get inside your eyes
  4. Apply petroleum gel at the opening of the nasal cavity to trap pollen grains from entering the nose.