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Is Hay Fever An Allergy

What Is The Treatment For Pollen Allergy

Allergy Symptoms & Treatments : How to Relieve a Hay Fever Allergy

Certain over-the-counter and prescription medicines may help reduce pollen allergy symptoms.

  • Antihistamines come in pill, liquid or nasal spray form. They can relieve sneezing and itching in the nose and eyes. They also reduce a runny nose and, to a lesser extent, nasal stuffiness.
  • are available as pills, liquids, nasal sprays or drops. They help shrink the lining of the nasal passages and relieve nasal stuffiness. Use decongestant nose drops and sprays only on the short-term.
  • Nasal corticosteroids are a type of nasal spray. They reduce inflammation in the nose and block allergic reactions. They are the most effective medicine type for allergic rhinitis because they can reduce all symptoms, including nasal congestion. Nasal corticosteroids have few side effects.
  • Leukotriene receptor antagonists block the action of important chemical messengers that are involved in allergic reactions.
  • Cromolyn sodium is a nasal spray that blocks the release of chemicals that cause allergy symptoms, including histamine and leukotrienes. This medicine has few side effects, but you must take it four times a day.

Many people with pollen allergy do not get complete relief from medications. This means they may be candidates for immunotherapy. Immunotherapy is a long-term treatment that can help prevent or reduce the severity of allergic reactions. It can change the course of allergic disease by modifying the bodys immune response to allergens.

How Is Hay Fever Treated

If possible, limit your exposure to allergens causing your hay fever symptoms. You can do this by keeping doors and windows shut and being aware of the pollen count outside. Over-the-counter medicine can be effective in relieving hay fever allergies that are not too severe. If symptoms are not manageable with over-the-counter medicine, your allergist may prescribe prescription medicine.

What Is Hay Fever What Are Hay Fever Symptoms And Signs

Hay fever affects up to 30% of all people worldwide, including up to 10% of U.S. children under 17 years of age and 7.8% of U.S. adults. The medical cost of allergic rhinitis is approximately $3.4 billion, mostly due to the cost of prescription medications. These figures are probably an underestimate because many of those affected may attribute their discomfort to a chronic cold. Although childhood hay fever tends to be more common, this condition can occur at any age and usually occurs after years of repeated inhalation of allergic substances. The incidence of allergic disease has dramatically increased in the U.S. and other developed countries over recent decades.

Symptoms of allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, frequently include

  • nose, eye itching, and
  • excess tear production in the eyes.

Postnasal dripping of clear mucus frequently causes a cough. Loss of the sense of smell is common, and loss of taste sense occurs occasionally. Nose bleeding may occur if the condition is severe. Eye itching, redness, and excess tears in the eyes frequently accompany the nasal symptoms. The eye symptoms are referred to as “allergic conjunctivitis” . These allergic symptoms often interfere with one’s quality of life and overall health.

Many people with allergies have difficulty with social and physical activities. For example, concentration is often difficult while experiencing allergic rhinitis symptoms.

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What Effect Does Treating Hay Fever Have On Asthma

Treating hay fever might improve asthma symptoms.5 People who take antihistamines for hay fever have less chest tightness, wheezing, breathlessness, cough, and nocturnal symptoms.2 Small studies have shown that antihistamines improve lung function and make the airways less sensitive .2

Several small studies have shown that when nasal sprays also reduce wheezing, breathlessness, and airways sensitivity. People treated for hay fever are less likely to go to the emergency department or be hospitalized for asthma.2

Whats The Best Hay Fever Treatment

Hay fever: One in six believe the common allergy is spread ...

Doctors would typically recommend calling your local allergist to try to figure out what, exactly, youre allergic to and the right treatment for you. But right now, things are a little different as the U.S. faces an overwhelmed healthcare system.

Instead, you can take conservative measures on your own, and there are a variety of options, says Omid Mehdizadeh, M.D., an otolaryngologist and laryngologist at Providence Saint Johns Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif.

Start with a salt water spray or nasal irrigation to try to clean out your nasal passages. If that doesnt work, you can use an air purifier as well, he says. These devices help eliminate contaminants in the air, like pollen, pet dander, and mold spores.

Making lifestyle changes, like keeping your windows closed and showering as soon as you come inside after being outdoors can also help, Dr. Phillips says.

OTC medication is also really effective if these steps dont seem to do enough. Steroid sprays are a good way to start, Dr. Parikh says, citing Flonase, Nasacort, and long-acting antihistamines like Allegra, Zyrtec, and Claritin, as good options. If you can find generic versions of these, Dr. Phillips recommends trying that route to save money. Generic drugs are 99.9% identical to a brand name, he says.

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How Is Hay Fever Diagnosed

Your healthcare provider will examine you, ask about your symptoms and evaluate you for other conditions, such as a cold or asthma. To measure your antibodies to specific allergens, your provider may take a blood sample and send it to a lab for testing. This blood test is called an immunoglobulin E test. It can detect all types of allergies, including food allergies.

Your provider may recommend a skin prick test to determine what allergens are causing your symptoms.

When Is There Most Pollen

Different trees and plants produce their pollen at different times of the year. Depending on which type of pollen you’re allergic to, you may experience hay fever symptoms at different times.

In the UK, the pollen count season is usually separated into 3 periods:

  • tree pollen late March to mid-May
  • grass pollen mid-May to July
  • weed pollen end of June to September

However, the pollen count season can sometimes begin as early as January or end in November. For example, depending on the weather conditions, sometimes there can be an “early spring” or a “long summer”.

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How Does Hay Fever Affect Asthma

Both conditions affect the upper and lower parts of the same airway, and they are closely linked. Many allergens trigger both conditions. Frequently, treating one condition also improves the other. People who are diagnosed with hay fever are often evaluated for asthma, too.4

Hay fever often starts before asthma.2 Studies have shown that having hay fever makes you three to six times more likely to develop asthma and that asthma is more likely to be severe.2

There are some good theories about how hay fever can lead to asthma, although none have been proven. Having a stuffy nose forces you to breath through your mouth.2 Air that enters the lungs via the mouth is cooler and drier, which can trigger airway narrowing. Inflammatory products in the nose might be inhaled into the lower airway. Inflammatory cells and signals caused by a flare-up of hay fever might set off reactions in the lungs.

How Do Health Care Professionals Diagnose Allergic Rhinitis How Do Health Care Professionals Identify Allergies

How to Treat Allergic Rhinitis (Hay Fever)

Typically, allergies are initially diagnosed by a combination of characteristic symptoms coupled with exam findings that correspond with allergies.

If a person is experiencing the typical symptoms of hay fever, a consultation with an allergy specialist can help identify the offending substances. Since the ideal way to manage an allergy is to avoid the substances that cause allergic reaction, it is important to first identify these substances . Many allergens can be suspected from information obtained in a patient’s history. For example, if symptoms usually worsen with exposure to cats, then cat dander protein is a probable allergen causing the symptoms. If cutting grass is associated with the onset of symptoms, then grass allergy is probable. A patient’s history of reactions is important in determining his/her unique allergies. Allergy testing is only done when allergies are debilitating enough that patients desire allergy immunotherapy.

Because the identification of allergens is important and often difficult to pinpoint, skin testing is often needed to identify exactly the specific substance causing the allergy. Skin testing is done with minimal discomfort and is performed as follows:

The first-generation antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine , chlorpheniramine , dimenhydrinate , brompheniramine , clemastine fumarate , and dexbrompheniramine frequently cause mouth dryness and sleepiness as side effects.

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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.

References

  • Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Accessed 7/30/2020.Rhinitis .
  • American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology . Accessed 7/30/2020.Rhinitis Overview.
  • InformedHealth.org . Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care 2006-. Hay fever: Allergen-specific immunotherapy in the treatment of allergies. . Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279487/

Managing Your Hay Fever

Identifying the allergen/s causing the symptoms is an important part of managing hay fever. In some cases the cause may be obvious but in others your doctor will need to consider your medical history together with the results of allergy tests , which may require referral to a specialist.

Some medications may help relieve the symptoms of hay fever. Ask your GP or pharmacist for advice. You may be advised to try:

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How Is Allergic Rhinitis Treated

Several allergy medications can improve symptoms and help you live with hay fever. These treatments come in many forms, including liquids, pills, eye drops, nasal sprays and injections. Talk to your provider before taking any medication, especially if youre pregnant or have other health concerns. Your provider may suggest:

Antihistamines: Antihistamine medications are available with a prescription or over the counter. They work by blocking the histamine that your body releases during an allergic response. Antihistamines come as pills, liquids, eye drops, nasal sprays and inhalers. They include:

  • Loratadine .
  • Fexofenadine .
  • Levocetirizine .

Antihistamines can cause drowsiness. Avoid alcohol when taking antihistamines, especially if youre going to drive.

These medications relieve congestion in the nose and sinuses. You can take decongestants by mouth or use a nasal spray. They include:

  • Afrin® nasal spray.
  • Phenylephrine nasal spray .
  • Pseudoephedrine .

Corticosteroid nasal sprays: These sprays and inhalers reduce inflammation and relieve symptoms of hay fever. The most common nasal sprays are Flonase®, Nasacort® and Rhinocort®. Side effects include headaches, nasal irritation, nosebleeds and cough.

Your provider might recommend immunotherapy in the form of a pill that you place under your tongue.

Minimise Exposure To Allergens

Hay fever warning: 20 million to be hit by pollen spike

If you know which allergens trigger your hay fever, reducing your exposure to them may reduce symptoms.

If pollens are causing your hay fever, these tips may help:

  • Stay indoors until after midday, especially when the pollen count is high, its windy or after thunderstorms .
  • Wear sunglasses, carry tissues, shower when you arrive home, and rinse your eyes with water.
  • If your trigger is grass, avoid mowing, playing or walking in grassy areas, and don’t go camping.
  • Keep windows closed at home and in the car, and use recirculating air conditioning in the car.
  • Avoid outdoor picnics during pollen season.
  • Try to plan holidays out of the pollen season, or holiday at the seaside.
  • If gardening at home, research which plants are less likely to trigger hay fever. Remove any weeds or vegetation outside your bedroom window that might trigger symptoms.

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How To Treat Allergies

In some cases, the best way to manage allergic reactions is to completely avoid the allergen triggering substance. But when the allergen is impossible to avoid, or allergic reactions are getting in the way of your life, our doctors offer solutions that will help you manage them.

Allergy shots help desensitize your body to allergens by exposing your body to a small amount of the allergen, slowly increasing the amount over time. Our doctors develop a treatment course to your triggering allergens, starting with weekly shots and moving to monthly over time.

Other allergy treatments our doctors prescribe include medication, inhalers, and sublingual immunotherapy tablets, a tablet form of allergy shots. For certain life-threatening allergies, our doctors prescribe an epinephrine auto-injector for you to carry with you in case of exposure to the allergen.

How Can I Prevent An Allergic Reaction To Pollen

There are actions you can take to reduce allergic reactions to pollen:

  • Limit your outdoor activities when pollen counts are high. This will lessen the amount of pollen allergen you inhale and reduce your symptoms.
  • Keep windows closed during pollen season and use central air conditioning with a CERTIFIED asthma & allergy friendly® filter attachment. This applies to your home and to any vehicle .
  • Start taking allergy medicine before pollen season begins. Most allergy medicines work best when taken this way. This allows the medicine to prevent your body from releasing histamine and other chemicals that cause your symptoms.
  • Bathe and shampoo your hair daily before going to bed. This will remove pollen from your hair and skin and keep it off your bedding.
  • Wash bedding in hot, soapy water once a week.
  • Wear sunglasses and a hat. This will help keep pollen out of your eyes and off your hair.
  • Limit close contact with pets that spend a lot of time outdoors.
  • Change and wash clothes worn during outdoor activities.
  • Dry your clothes in a clothes dryer, not on an outdoor line.

Look for this mark to find products proven more suitable for people with asthma and allergies. Find CERTIFIED asthma & allergy friendly® products on our Certification program website.

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Mental Health Conditions Not Linked To Allergies Including Asthma And Hay Fever

  • Allergic diseases such as asthma, atopic dermatitis, and hay fever do not cause the onset of mental health conditions or vice versa, according to the findings of a new study.

Researchers from Bristol Medical School: Population Health Sciences and School of Psychological Science busted rumours and found out that allergic diseases do not cause mental health traits including anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia or vice-versa.

The results of the study were published in the journal ‘Clinical and Experimental Allergy’.

Allergic diseases such as asthma, atopic dermatitis, and hay fever do not cause the onset of mental health conditions or vice versa, according to the findings of a new University of Bristol-led study.

While previous studies have reported an observational relationship between mental health and common allergic diseases, until now, causal relationships had not yet been identified.

First, the team of researchers sought to isolate the effects of these allergic diseases by applying a scientific technique called Mendelian Randomisation, which allowed them to identify genetic variants linked to these allergic diseases and then investigated how these variants were causally related to the presence of mental health conditions based on a sample of 12,000-344,901 individuals.

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This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

How Common Are Comorbid Asthma And Hay Fever

Hay fever and seasonal allergies

Hay fever is the most common allergic disease. In the United States, 20 to 40 million people are affected. This is about 30 percent of adults and 40 percent of children.2

More than 75 percent of people with asthma also have hay fever and 10 to 40 percent of people with hay fever have asthma.2,7 People with moderate to severe hay fever are especially likely to have asthma.

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Hay Fever Is An Allergic Reaction

Your nose acts as a filter. The tiny hairs and mucus that line the nasal passages trap dust, pollens and other microscopic particles. A person with hay fever is allergic to some of the particles that get trapped in the nose, such as pollen. An allergic reaction means the immune system treats a harmless substance as if it is dangerous, and launches an attack. The nasal passages become inflamed and more mucus is produced.

What Causes Allergic Rhinitis

Allergic rhinitis occurs when your bodys immune system reacts to an irritant in the air. The irritants are so tiny that you can easily inhale them through your nose or mouth.

Allergens are harmless to most people. But if you have hay fever, your immune system thinks the allergen is intruding. The immune system tries to protect your body by releasing natural chemicals into your bloodstream. The main chemical is called histamine. It causes mucous membranes in the nose, eyes and throat to become inflamed and itchy as they work to eject the allergen.

Seasonal and perennial allergies can result from many allergens, including:

  • Dust mites that live in carpets, drapes, bedding and furniture.
  • Pollen from trees, grass and weeds.
  • Pet dander .
  • Mold spores.
  • Cockroaches, including their saliva and waste.

Food allergies can also cause inflammation in the nose and throat. If you think youre having an allergic reaction to something you ate, get medical help right away. Food allergies can be life-threatening.

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