Hay fever is actually a misnomer. It is not necessary to have fever to be diagnosed as suffering from Hay fever neither it is because of hay exclusively. It is popularly known as Hay fever because it was theorised earlier that the symptoms were seen after smelling the new hay.
Hay fever is also known as allergic rhinitis. It affects the largest number of people. Almost 20% of the people get affected by Hay fever annually in the western countries. It is most commonly seen in age group 20 to 40.
In hay fever, there is inflammation of the nose as the immune system over reacts to the allergens it is exposed to. in Hay fever, the body goes into overdrive after exposure to the allergens. It is also a type of hypersensitivity reaction. The allergens are substances normally present in the nature and most of the people do not show an exaggerated immune response to their exposure.
Causes of hay fever:
There are various causes of hay fever. The most common cause is exposure to pollen. Some people are hypersensitive to certain allergens in the environment. It is triggered by following substances:
- Pet hair
It has two types:
It occurs during the time of the year when pollen formation is maximum in certain plants. This is mostly seen in spring (haying) season.
It occurs any time around the year. This can be because of fungus, weeds, pet animal hair, dust mites, feathers etc. it can also be caused because of certain food items such as peanut etc.
It can also be triggered by certain nasal irritants such as strong smelling substances such as cigarette smoke, perfumes and diesel or petrol exhausts.
Trees commonly responsible for hay fever are:
Hay fever symptoms:
Hay fever presents with following symptoms:
- Running nose
- Hay fever rash
- Sneezing fits
- Nasal congestion
- Inability to breathe
- Open mouth breathing
- Foul smelling breath
- Red eyes
- Puffy eyes
- Tearing eyes
It can result in following complications:
- Allergic conjunctivitis
- Atopic dermatitis
Hay fever diagnosis:
Allergic testing is necessary to diagnose hay fever rash. Skin testing is the most common method of hay fever diagnosis. it may include a patch test, a scratch test.
Hay fever Treatment:
Following treatment modalities are used to treat hay fever:
- Anti- histaminic oral medicine
- Anti- histaminic nasal spray
Although for exact treatment, you should visit your physician.
Hay fever Prevention:
The best method to tackle the Hay fever is to avoid the occurrence.It is difficult to completely avoid the pollen exposure as it is present everywhere. However, following are some of the tips to avoid pollen:
- Apply some Vaseline inside the nostrils
- stay indoors whenever possible
- Use air conditioning in home or in the car
- Keep your windows high during the season of the pollination
- Don’t keep fresh flowers in your house
- Vacuum frequently in the house
- Always dust your house with a damp cloth to remove all the dust particles
- Quit smoking and don’t let people smoke near you or in the house
- Bath your pets regularly so the hair lost won’t lie free
- Avoid sun drying your clothes to avoid getting pollen on them
- Don’t cut the grass on your own if you are allergic
- Use a face mask or cover your nose when walking outdoor
- Wear sunglasses to stop the pollen from entering your eyes
- As the pollen count is high in early morning and late evening avoid these timings to roam outside.
Using these simple yet effective measures reduce the frequency of hay fever substantially.