What is Hay Fever?

Many people suffer from hay fever (an estimated 25 million Americans), a seasonal allergy that affects the mucous membranes of the nose and eyes. This article will define what hay fever is, it's symptoms, and what treatment options are available for it.

Hay fever is the popular name given for allergic reaction to pollen; it's also known, scientifically as allergic rhinitis. Hay fever occurs when wind-born pollen comes in contact with your eyes or nose. The pollen may come from sources such as from grass, trees, and some mold spores. In the next section we will overview symptoms associated with hay fever.

Hay fever symptoms

The first step to treating hay fever is to understand the symptoms it causes in order to help identify and diagnose it.

A person with hay fever may feel completely miserable with varied symptoms that range from a runny nose to headaches. Sneezing, dry throat, runny nose, and watery eyes are some of the more common symptoms associated with hay fever, but symptoms may vary from person to person.

Allergic reactions for hay fever associated with the nose are sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion, and itching. When hay fever affects the eyes, it can cause swelling, itching, redness, and watering. Hay fever symptoms not only affect the eyes and nose, but it also affects the mouth and ears. Allergic reactions for the mouth and ear areas are itchy or dry throat. It also important to remember that a person suffering from hay fever may only have one specific symptom or they may have all of them.

When all of the aforementioned symptoms are combined they can make it very difficult for a person to carry out their daily tasks and function. They can also create "spill-over" symptoms that include sleepiness, depression, and headaches. The inability to get a good night's sleep can be a result of any number of hay fever symptoms that might include headaches, sneezing, runny nose, or nose stuffiness. After identifying the symptoms of hay fever you can begin treating it, which we will discuss in the next section.

Hay fever treatment

People do not have to suffer from the effects of hay fever, because there are treatment options available and ways to reduce your exposure to the pollen that causes it. This section will overview treatment methods to treat hay fever symptoms.

There are medications that can help alleviate the symptoms of hay fever. The more common class of medications available are anti-histamines; anti-histamines block histamine from acting which forms when the body comes into contact with an allergen. An example of anti-histamines working is that it keeps inflammation in the nose from occurring which will in-turn keep you from having a stuffy nose. Anti-histamines also alleviate problems such as a runny noses, watery or itchy eyes, and sneezing.

Anti-allergy medications that come in the form of eye drops, throat and nasal sprays help to treat watery eyes, and itching of the eyes, throat, and nose.

There are some things you can do to reduce the amount of pollen you come in contact with daily. The first is to sleep with the your home windows closed, and that also applies when you're riding in an automobile. It is also a good practice to stay inside when the pollen count is high, and the pollen count can be checked by watching your local news on television.

While there is no way to completely eliminate allergies, seeking successful treatment and preventative measures can allow sufferers to lead productive lives.