The medical term for hay fever is "allergic rhinitis". It is caused by an allergy to pollen and it is a very common condition in the UK affecting up to 10million people each year. Even though hay fever can develop at any age, the symptoms are generally first experienced in childhood.
When someone with hay fever comes in contact with pollen, the body releases antibodies to fight off the allergen. These antibodies stimulate the body to produce a chemical called Histamine. Histamine is responsible for the allergic reaction producing uncomfortable symptoms such as wheezing, sneezing and watery eyes. Sometimes it can aggravate other atopic conditions such as Asthma.
Simply, when pollen particles enter through your nostrils it irritates your nasal passages and triggers an allergic reaction. The allergic reaction can be triggered by many different types of pollen. In the UK, the most common cause of hayfever is grass pollen but symptoms can also be triggered by weed and tree pollen.
In the UK 90% of hayfever sufferers are allergic to grass pollens. Grass pollens are most prominent around mid May to July time.
About 25% of people who suffer from hay fever in the UK are allergic to tree pollen such as birch, oak, cedar and ash tree. Allergy from tree pollen is most common between late march and mid-may.
Weed pollens are generated by weeds such as dock, nettles and mugwort. During end of June to September weed pollen count is high.
Even though there is not enough clear explanations as to what causes the immune system to react to pollen the way it does, there are however certain risk factors which may increase the risk of suffering from hay fever.
Hay fever symptoms mainly depend on the condition of the weather and the amount of pollen in the air. At day times symptoms are generally worse as the pollen count is higher in the air. These are some common hay fever symptoms:
If you successfully treat hay fever, there are number of benefits you can experience which includes:
Long term treatment can help improve the symptoms
It might help you to become less exposed to other allergic respiratory disease such as asthma.
It reduces the inflammation in your nose
Avoiding contact with the allergen is the most effective way to prevent an allergic reaction.
Nevertheless it's not always easy. There are a different range of over the counter and prescription only treatment which you could use to treat these symptoms.
Antihistamine inhibit the role of a chemical called histamine. Histamine is responsible for many of the symptoms associated with allergies like hay fever. Antihistamines are available as tablets, creams, eye drops as well as nasal spray form.
Steroid nasal sprays are often prescribed once over the counter treatments have been proven ineffective. Steroid sprays, such as Avamys are designed to significantly reduce swelling in the nasal airways. It is also a good way to treat the symptoms if you want to minimise the side effects. Avamys is very easy to use and also can be used during pregnancy and whilst breastfeeding.
Blocked nose is one of the most common symptoms caused by hay fever or dust allergies. Decongestants are used as a short term treatment and can be taken as capsules, liquid or nasal sprays.
In severe cases steroid injections are used which is available under NHS. There are risk of many side effects associated with steroid related injection if used too often. Also it is not a very common way of treating the hay fever by most doctors.
It is almost impossible to avoid pollen completely , but there are some techniques which can be used to limit the exposure to the allergen and that will help to reduce the severity of symptoms you may suffer. If you are indoors:
Shut windows and doors which will help to stop pollen from entering
Use a damp cloth to dust furniture
Try to remove any pollen from your pets fur if it has been outside
Regularly vacuum your house
Get rid of any fresh flowers in your house
If you are outdoors: Avoid grassy areas mostly when the pollen count is high; especially early mornings or late evenings. There are some specialised sunglasses which helps to restrict the amount of pollen getting to your eyes. Keeping the car window shut and using pollen filter on air vents also helps to prevent the pollen entering in to the car.
There are a wide range of treatments for hay fever available, which can be purchased over the counter. It is advised that you try over the counter antihistamine treatment first to see if they provide the relief from your symptoms. If they have proven to be failed to treat your symptoms then you may consider prescription medication such as nasal sprays which is available at AccessDoctor. You can order your prescription only hay fever treatment by completing our easy online medical consultation.
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