What Causes Hay Fever
It is caused when the body makes allergic antibodies to certain substances, such as pollen, house dust mites or mould, which are known as allergens.
Grass pollen is the most common allergen , but tree and weed pollens can also cause the allergic reaction we know as hay fever. In perennial allergic rhinitis the symptoms continue all year round and usually relate to indoor allergens, such as house dust mites, pets, including birds, or moulds.
Are You Really Struggling With Allergies
Stay out of the pollen and talk to an eCare medical provider anytime, anywhere 24/7 for nonurgent health issues, including cough, sinus discomfort and sore throat.
An allergy happens when the immune system reacts to a substance, such as pollen, and releases histamine, a chemical found in some of the bodys cells. After histamine is released, symptoms appear in the nose, sinuses, eyes, throat and even ears, skin and stomach. Many times the result is a runny nose, sneezing, headaches, itchy and watery eyes and sore throat.
If youre struggling, there are some things you can do to reduce your reactions and also soothe your symptoms, according to Rachel Alexander, APRN, Norton eCare:
1. Limit your time outdoors. Pollen counts are highest in midday, early evening and when its windy.
2. Use air conditioning both in the car and in your home. Consider a HEPA filter for your home.
3. Shower in the evening to wash the pollen off before bedtime. Be sure to thoroughly wash your hair. The steam from the shower is sometimes beneficial in relieving symptoms.
4. Use a saline rinse to clear pollen from nasal passages. There are several varieties out there, from neti pots to special sprayers and even electronic devices. Talk to your health care provider about the best options for you.
5. Keep pets out of your bedroom if they have been outdoors. This reduces the amount of pollen in your sleeping area.
6. Dry clothes in a dryer, not outdoors on a clothesline.
Don’t Skimp On Exercise
Even if your child is feeling a little under the weather because of allergy symptoms, its still good to promote physical activity. “Exercise is a great way to improve overall health and also reduce allergy symptoms,” Stukus explains. “Physical activity improves blood flow, increases breathing rate, and can serve as a wonderful distraction from annoying allergy symptoms.” The boost in circulation may improve the ability of immune system cells to travel throughout the body, according to the Harvard Medical School. However, if your child has outdoor allergies, avoid outdoor exercise on very high pollen days. Opt for fun indoor activities instead.
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How Do You Know If You Have Seasonal Allergies
If you experience allergy symptoms at only certain times of the year, then you may have a seasonal allergy.
The only way to know for sure if you have a specific allergy is to see a board-certified allergist. An allergist can conduct allergy testing to confirm a diagnosis. Testing may include a skin test or a blood test.
A skin test is the most common type of allergy test. This is done by applying a small amount of diluted allergen to the skin. Then you wait 15 minutes to see if a raised, itchy, red bump appears. If it does, then you have an allergy to that particular allergen.
What Are Seasonal Allergies
A seasonal allergy is a type of allergic reaction that only occurs during a certain season. Like other types of allergies, allergy symptoms that develop during certain seasons are caused by your immune system overreacting to something in the environment.
This is sometimes referred to as allergic rhinitis or hay fever.
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Can Allergic Rhinitis Be Prevented Or Avoided
Allergic rhinitis cannot be prevented. You can help your symptoms by avoiding the things that cause your symptoms, including:
- Keeping windows closed. This is especially important during high-pollen seasons.
- Washing your hands after petting animals.
- Using dust- and mite-proof bedding and mattress covers.
- Wearing glasses outside to protect your eyes.
- Showering before bed to wash off allergens from hair and skin.
You can also avoid things that can make your symptoms worse, such as:
- Aerosol sprays.
- Wood smoke.
Look Into Alternative Treatments
Some allergy sufferers swear by alternative home remedies for seasonal allergies. These include butterbur , acupuncture, spirulina , stinging nettle, eucalyptus oil, and bromelain . There isn’t too much evidence on these treatments, so it’s best to conduct your own research and consult a doctor with any questions.
- RELATED: When Is Allergy Season?
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Can You Outgrow Seasonal Allergies
Ive heard patients say that allergy cycles usually only last for seven years, or that allergies are just for kids and that you can outgrow themnot true. You can develop seasonal allergies at any time in your life, whether youre a kid or an adult in your 60s, and there is no such thing as a cycle after which they just disappear. This is why its best to speak to your doctor and determine an appropriate plan of action because not every allergy sufferer is alike.
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Install An Air Filter
HEPA filters are an efficient way to keep the air clean in your home, and they can bring relief from pollen, mold, and pet dander. When you use an air filter in any room remember to keep the door closed to reduce the overall volume of air that the machine is trying to clean.
One thing to note: Air filters are not of much use against dust mites because the dead mites float in the air for only a few minutes before falling and that is not long enough for the filter to draw them in. To deal with those pesky little buggers, you should.
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When Do People Usually Get Hay Fever
You can have hay fever any time of the year. Seasonal allergies occur in the spring, summer and early fall when trees and weeds bloom and pollen counts are higher. Perennial allergies can happen year-round. They result from irritants that are always around, such as pet dander, cockroaches and dust mites.
Allergies In Pandemic Times
On the topic of seasonal allergies, spring and summer can be tough times for allergy sufferers. But allergy season this year may be a bit tougher.
Coughing, sniffling, and breathing issues are common symptoms of allergies, but they’re also symptoms of COVID-19.
Discerning between the two conditions, as Parikh points out, can be stress-inducing. And not only thatdisplaying any of these symptoms in public has often come to elicit a certain reaction from the people in your vicinity.
“The fear of a populated area could cause feelings of rejection and isolation to avoid the dagger stares or people moving away when someone with allergies begins to show some signs that are misunderstood,” Malone says.
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When Should I See My Healthcare Provider About Hay Fever
Although hay fever doesnt cause any serious health problems, you should see your provider to rule out other conditions, such as asthma. Seek care if hay fever symptoms are getting in the way of your daily life or making it hard for you to sleep. Your provider can help you identify the allergens that are causing a reaction and recommend treatments to help you feel better.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Hay fever symptoms can affect your quality of life and keep you from doing the activities you love, but effective treatments are available. Millions of adults and children manage hay fever with medications and lifestyle changes. Talk to your provider about steps you can take to relieve symptoms, breathe easier and feel better.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 07/30/2020.
- Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Rhinitis . Accessed 9/1/2021.
- American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology . Rhinitis Overview. Accessed 9/1/2021.
- InformedHealth.org . Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care 2006-. Hay fever: Allergen-specific immunotherapy in the treatment of allergies. Accessed 9/1/2021.
- Wheatley LM, Togias A. Allergic Rhinitis. N Engl J Med. 2015 Jan 29 372:456-463. Accessed 9/1/2021.
Medication For Allergy Season Symptoms
Antihistamines: These drugs block the effects of histamines in the tissue and help stop itchy symptoms irrespective of the location in the body. A study conducted to assess theefficacy of oral antihistamines in urticaria revealed a significant improvement in the symptoms among subjects treated with antihistamines.
Corticosteroids: These are anti-inflammatory drugs that reduce inflammatory reactions, especially swelling in the body, locally or generally. Corticosteroids are available in various forms, such as nasal sprays, oral tablets, and creams. Nasal corticosteroids are sprays used to reduce nasal tissue swelling.
Doctors prescribe oral corticosteroids to reduce generalized inflammatory responses in the body and the creams are for skin reactions.
Another study conducted on the effect of intranasal steroids for relieving hay fever symptoms showed an improvement of these symptoms in study participants administered intranasal steroids.
Nasal decongestants: These are nasal sprays used to relieve nasal congestion due to fluid and mucus accumulation. Nasal decongestants are used for a maximum of three days because more prolonged use may increase the risk of nasal swelling due to rebound effects.
Mast cell stabilizers: This class of drugs prevents mast cells from releasing histamine, which causes local or generalized itching.
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What Is The Outlook For People Who Have Hay Fever
Hay fever can make you feel miserable, but it doesnt cause serious health problems. Most people with hay fever manage symptoms with lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medication.
People with airborne allergies have a higher risk of ear infections and sinus infections. Because hay fever can make it tough to get a good nights sleep, you may feel tired during the day. If you have asthma, hay fever can make your asthma symptoms worse.
When To See A Healthcare Provider
Seasonal allergies are a fact of life for many people, but effective treatments are available. If you havent spoken with your healthcare provider about your allergies before, its a good time to have the conversation. If you notice changes to your allergy symptoms or the times you experience seasonal allergies, you should also talk with your healthcare provider.
Any time you’re experiencing facial or throat swelling, trouble breathing, or any other concerning symptoms, call 911 or seek medical help immediately.
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What Is An Allergy
An allergy is a hypersensitivity immune response to normally harmless substances, such as pollens or foods. For most people, these substancesâalso called allergensâpose no problem. In allergic individuals, however, the immune system identifies them as a threat and produces an inappropriate response.1 Hundreds of ordinary substances may trigger an allergic reaction.
When someone is exposed to an allergen and he or she becomes sensitized, the body then produces antibodies called Immunoglobulin E . The next time the person encounters the same allergen, the allergen binds to the IgE antibodies and causes the mast cell to release histamine and other chemicals. This reaction causes inflammation and triggers allergy symptoms that can range from mild to severe, affecting the skin, gastrointestinal tract, cardiovascular system, and/or respiratory tract.
How Is Allergic Rhinitis Diagnosed
If you have minor allergies, youll probably only need a physical exam. However, your doctor may perform certain tests to figure out the best treatment and prevention plan for you.
A skin prick test is one of the most common. Your doctor places several substances onto your skin to see how your body reacts to each one. Usually, a small red bump appears if youre allergic to a substance.
A blood test, or radioallergosorbent test , is also common. The RAST measures the amount of immunoglobulin E antibodies to particular allergens in your blood.
You can treat your allergic rhinitis in several ways. These include medications, as well as home remedies and possibly alternative medicines. Talk to your doctor before trying any new treatment measure for allergic rhinitis.
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I Have Bad Seasonal Allergies What Are My Options
There is no reason to suffer even if your symptoms are really awful. If you have tried many over-the-counter options and are getting little-to-no relief, make an appointment with a board-certified allergist. Discuss prescription medications as well as allergen immunotherapy.
While these options may not eliminate your symptoms, they can help reduce them to a manageable level.
Flush Irritants Away With Saline Drops Or Artificial Tears
Normal saline drops or artificial tears can be used to flush away irritants that can cause inflammation. While there are many DIYs to make saline drops at home, its critical that you do this in a sterile environment and ensure all utensils and ingredients are uncontaminated. You could also use simple store-bought ones instead. Also, clean your eyelids and the area around your eyes with a wet washcloth to remove any allergens if youve been outside.3
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Symptoms Of Childrens Allergies
Your childs allergy symptoms will depend on which type of allergy they are experiencing. Seasonal allergies usually start between ages 2 and 5. Children younger than 2 usually do not experience seasonal allergies because it takes exposure to two years of the season to develop an allergy.
Symptoms of allergic rhinitis caused by seasonal allergies may include:
- Runny nose
Severe allergies that cause serious symptoms must be treated by a healthcare provider.
What Is Hay Fever
Hay fever is a common allergic reaction which occurs at particular times of the year. It is known as seasonal rhinitis, sharing symptoms with perennial allergic rhinitis, but occurring as a reaction to pollen from grass, trees and weeds during the early spring and summer months. It can affect both adults and children.
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What Are The Types Of Allergic Rhinitis
The two types of allergic rhinitis are seasonal and perennial. Seasonal allergies usually occur during the spring and fall season and are typically in response to outdoor allergens like pollen. Perennial allergies can occur year round, or at any time during the year in response to indoor substances, like dust mites and pet dander.
Allergies can affect anyone, but youre more likely to develop allergic rhinitis if there is a history of allergies in your family. Having asthma or atopic eczema can also increase your risk of allergic rhinitis.
Some external factors can trigger or worsen this condition, including:
What Is A Skin Prick Test
This common test is painless and accurate, though it may be a little uncomfortable. Your provider places a small sample of different allergens on your skin and scratches or pricks the skin with a needle. Scratching the skin allows the allergen to get under the surface.
If youre allergic to the allergen, the area will become red, itchy and irritated in 15 to 30 minutes. You may develop raised, hive-like welts called wheals that show an allergic reaction. A skin prick test is a safe, effective way to determine which allergens are causing your symptoms.
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Ten Ways To Alleviate Seasonal Allergies Without Medication
When your immune system overreacts to an airborne substance that doesnt bother everyone around you, you have allergies. Pollen, dust mites, pet dander, mold spores and insect stings are the biggest culprits of seasonal allergies.
Increased pollen counts and higher temperatures across the globe are contributing to longer and more severe allergy seasons. This means many people whove never had an issue before are experiencing seasonal allergy symptoms for the first time. However, because these symptoms are so similar to the common cold, many just assume theyve caught a bug. If this sounds familiar, the best way to tell the difference between allergies and a cold is whether you have a fever. If youve been feeling unwell for 7 days or longer without a fever, you are probably suffering from seasonal allergies.
When you seek medical treatment for allergy symptoms, your doctor will typically prescribe medications or injections to help you feel better. But the good news is that there are a lot of things you can do at home to alleviate seasonal allergies without medication.
The Best Natural Remedy For Allergies
The best natural remedy for allergies is, when possible, avoidance. Both doctors and natural healers will suggest that you limit or avoid allergens, which are what causes your allergic reaction.
You should avoid exposure to your allergens. For example, if youve had an allergic reaction to a sulfa drug, let your doctor know about your allergy. Theyll most likely prescribe an alternate antibiotic if youll ever need one.
That being said, some allergens are hard to avoid. In that case, after discussing your symptoms with your doctor, you might consider a home remedy for allergies to deal with the results of exposure to an allergen.
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When Does Allergy Season Start
There is no official beginning to allergy season. It really depends on what triggers your allergy symptoms.
Many people find spring allergies particularly problematic. In many parts of the United States, this is when trees bloom again and release pollen into the air. If you are a person who is allergic to grasses or hay, summer may be when you struggle. And for others, fall sees the emergence of ragweed pollen which may trigger allergy symptoms.
If molds, dust mites and other indoor allergens are your allergy trigger, then you may see the peak of your seasonal allergies all year long. The key is to understand when your symptoms normally begin. This will help determine what may trigger your allergic reactions.