Hay fever, also called allergic rhinitis, causes cold-like signs and symptoms. We find runny nose, itchy eyes, congestion, sneezing and sinus pressure. But unlike the common cold, hay fever is not caused by a virus. Hay fever is caused by an allergic reaction to outdoor or indoor allergens. Common allergens include pollen, dust mites, or tiny patches of skin and saliva left by cats, dogs, and other furry or feathered animals (pet dander).
Besides making you unhappy, hay fever can affect your performance at work or school and generally disrupt your life. But you don’t have to put up with bothersome symptoms. You can learn how to avoid triggers and find the right treatment.
- 1 Signs and symptoms of hay fever:
- 2 Triggers of allergic rhinitis
- 3 When to consult a doctor
- 4 What happens in the body when you have a seizure
- 5 Hay fever risk factors
- 6 Complications associated with hay fever
Signs and symptoms of hay fever:
Runny nose and nasal congestion
Watery, itchy, red eyes (allergic conjunctivitis)
Itching in the nose, mouth or throat
Blue, swollen skin under the eyes (allergic shiners)
Hay fever signs and symptoms can appear or worsen at any given time of year.
Triggers of allergic rhinitis
By the main triggers of the symptoms, we can mention:
– Tree pollen, which is common in early spring.
– Grass pollen, which is common in late spring and summer.
– Dust mites, cockroaches and pet dander can be bothersome all year round (perennial). Symptoms caused by dander can worsen in winter when houses are closed.
– Indoor and outdoor fungus and mold spores are considered seasonal and perennial.
When to consult a doctor
See your doctor if:
– You are not finding relief from your hay fever symptoms
– Allergy medications do not provide relief or cause bothersome side effects
– You have another condition that can make hay fever symptoms worse, such as nasal polyps, asthma, or frequent sinus infections
– Many people, especially children, get used to the symptoms of hay fever. So they may not seek treatment until symptoms worsen. But appropriate treatment could relieve them.
What happens in the body when you have a seizure
When you have hay fever, your immune system identifies a harmless airborne substance as harmful. Your immune system then produces antibodies against this harmless substance. The next time you come into contact with this substance. These antibodies signal your immune system to release chemicals such as histamine into your blood, causing a reaction that leads to the signs and symptoms of hay fever.
Hay fever risk factors
The following may increase your risk of developing hay fever:
Other allergies or asthma
Atopic dermatitis (eczema)
Having a blood relative (such as a parent or sibling) with allergies or asthma
Living or working in an environment that constantly exposes you to allergens: animal dander or dust mites
Having a parent who smoked in their first year of life
Complications associated with hay fever
Problems that can be associated with hay fever include:
Reduced quality of life
Hay fever can prevent you from enjoying your activities and make you less productive. For many people, hay fever symptoms cause time off from work or school.
Poor quality sleep
Hay fever symptoms can keep you awake or prevent you from sleeping. This can lead to fatigue and a general feeling of being unwell (malaise).
Worsening of asthma
Hay fever can make asthma signs and symptoms worse, such as coughing and wheezing.
Prolonged sinus congestion from hay fever can increase your susceptibility to sinusitis. An infection or inflammation of the membrane that lines the sinuses.
In children, hay fever is often a factor in middle ear infection (otitis media).
Alas, at the moment there are hardly any ways to avoid hay fever. If you have hay fever, the best thing to do is to reduce your exposure to the allergens that are causing your symptoms.