Definition of Hay Fever
Hay fever is caused due to inflammation of the mucous membranes. Usually, hay fever is a seasonal allergy. In hay fever allergy affects the mucous membranes of eyes and nose. Hay fever is also known by various common names such as ‘pollinosis’ or seasonal allergic rhinitis. Though not so serious in itself the rhinitis can lead to other medical complications and aggravate asthma. According available statistics, more than 26.1 million people in United State alone suffer from hay fever every year. The statistics further reveal that more than 14.6 million people in the United States are suffering from asthma. At times asthma is accompanied by the hay fever. More cases of hay fever are found during pollinating seasons of plants. During the pollinating season pollens are more in the air. When people inhale this pollen containing air they get infected with the allergies.
Hay Fever Symptoms
There are number of symptoms of hay fever and these symptoms may defer from one individual to another. Following are some of the common symptoms of hay fever.
- Recurrent and prolonged sneezing
- Watery and stuffy nose
- Swelling, itching and redness of the eyes
- Itching of ears and other problems related to ears
- Itching of throat and moth
- Itching of nose
- One may experience difficulty in breathing especially during nights.
- You may get coughing due to the post nasal dripping of clear mucus
- You may experience loss of smell and occasionally loss of taste.
- Nose bleeding may be experienced in severe cases of hay fever in rare cases.
Swelling of nose and sneezing are the most common symptoms of hay fever. This sneezing or swelling is caused due to production of antibodies by the body system to fight pollens and other allergic substances that enter the body through breathing. In this process histamine is released by the antibody which causes irritation in the upper respiratory passages. This irritation of respiratory passages leads to sneezing and swelling of the nose.
Development of Hay Fever
It is a well known fact that plant pollinating season is the main period when most of the allergic people get affected. However, the time of period may defer from one individual to another as different people have different causes of allergy. This is why hay fever season defers from one person to another. Moreover, pollinating season of different trees/plant is different and hence pollens that are responsible for allergies are produced by grasses, trees and weeds during different seasons. The hay fever season depends on your environment and place of your habitat.
In the United States people have different hay fever seasons depending on their place of residence. People from Eastern America and Midwest America suffer more from hay fever during early spring as trees like maple, elm, poplar and birch produce pollens during this period. Obviously increased pollens in the air will affect the people sensitive to tree pollen and develop allergies. If you are the one with characteristic of grass produced pollen sensitiveness, you are likely to suffer more during early summer and late spring as most grasses have their pollinating period during this time. If you are sensitive to plant produced pollens you must keep a watch on the pollinating periods of plants, trees and grasses. You can gather information about pollinating periods from weather department and adopt preventive measure to avoid deterioration of health condition.
Prevention/Control of Hay Fever
Avoid is the golden rule of preventing/controlling hay fever. You must avoid exposure to pollens and other substances that you feel can trigger the allergies. You must also avoid use of medicines that could counteract the histamine. It is always better to consult your health care provider if you have history of allergies. Your doctor will recommend the best suitable medication for you. If the allergic condition is more severe you may have to corticosteroids.
Use of air filters and air-conditioners is another method of controlling the air pollens. This could help in prevention and control of hay fever up-to certain extent.
Health complications caused by the Hay Fever
Apart from the common symptoms like sneezing, swelling of nose, infection/itching of eyes, ear, throat, mouth etc hay fever can produce other adverse health conditions. Some of the health complications caused by hay fever include development of nasal growths and chronic sinusitis. However, these complications are observed where the hay fever was recurrent in nature (occurring time and again year after year). Chronic sinusitis is nothing but the sinus cavities inflammation.
To conclude hay fever is caused by the pollens produced by trees, grass, weeds during their pollinating periods. Hay fever can be controlled by avoiding exposure to pollens and other substances known for developing hay fever. In severe cases you must consult a doctor for timely treatment.