Otherwise known as allergic rhinitis or pollinosis, hay fever is an allergic reaction triggered by allergens such as dust, pollen, mites, grasses, moulds, animal fur and hair or air pollution. Spring is when most people notice the symptoms, as this is when the outdoor allergens increase.
The 2017 National Health Interview Survey reported 7.7 percent of the adult population (close to 20 million people) were told within the past year by a doctor or health care professional that they have hay fever.
Does it seem as if your allergies get worse every year? You may not beimagining it. Allergy specialists say that climate change does seem to be making allergies worse. Allergenic plants are bigger and produce more pollen, and allergy seasons are starting earlier and lasting longer.
Some hay fever symptoms occur immediately after you have been exposed to the allergen. They include:
Other hay fever symptoms may occur later:
Your health care provider may do a physical exam, ask questions about your symptoms and what triggers them, and run blood and skin tests to diagnose your condition.
To prevent and treat symptoms:
Antihistamines and nasal steroids can be helpful for allergy symptoms. However, antihistamines can cause drowsiness and should be taken only with your doctor's approval. Non-drowsy antihistamines can be used for mild, intermittent symptoms such as sneezing or itching.
For those with more severe or persistent symptoms, a nasal steroid can help. Nasal steroids need to be used every day and may take a week to start working, but provide better long-term symptom control.
In addition to tracking in dirt and mud, you can track in pollen when you wear your shoes into your house. If you’re prone to allergies, allergy expert recommends not only taking off your shoes when you get home but also throwing them (and everything else you are wearing) into the washing machine.
Anything you can do to minimise your exposure to allergy triggers can go a long way to making you feel better. One easy trick? Don’t use hair gel, which, perhaps not surprisingly, collects pollen.
Drive with the windows up and turn your car’s air conditioner to the ‘do not recirculate’ setting. Also, try to park in a garage or where the car will be somewhat covered and less likely to have pollen land on it. Similarly, keep all your windows at home closed to keep pollen out, and turn on the air conditioner if necessary. Check that the filter on your air conditioner is properly installed and isn’t too dirty. When preparing for spring, make sure your air conditioner is not only ready to cool your home but is ready to help clean the air you breathe.
After studying 179 people with hay fever, researchers at Ohio State University discovered that the 39% who suffered more than one allergy attack had high stress levels. What’s more, the majority of people in this group, who were studied for 12 weeks, had more than four allergy attacks within two 14-day periods.
While the study did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship, stress is known to exacerbate many health problems, and allergies appear to be among them. While alleviating stress won’t cure allergies, it may help decrease the episode of intense symptoms.
People often don’t start taking allergy medications until their symptoms get unbearable, but that’s a mistake. Allergy experts advise to consider starting treating allergies before you have symptoms if you know you have bad pollen allergies.
Watch pollen counts, and as soon as they start to rise, start taking your usual medication. Once your body ramps up its release of histamines and inﬂammatory chemicals, allergies are much harder to treat.
Essential oils may also reduce attacks. You can heat the oil in a burner then inhale them on a hanky or over a steaming bucket of moderately hot water. Try eucalyptus, tee tree oil, Roman chamomile, lemon, lavender, geranium, rosemary or peppermint.
You may already know that peaches and apples can exacerbate symptoms in people with pollen allergies, but it turns out that celery can as well. Both cooked and uncooked celery can cause swelling of the throat, lips and tongue, so if you have a pollen allergy, you’ll probably want to steer clear. And be sure to read the labels on packaged foods.
Celery is often an ingredient in soups and salad dressings.
The secret remain in the bees. Traditional honey, commonly used to improve food and drinks, contains many minerals, enzymes and antioxidants that help your body stand and not feel sick anymore.
Bees use pollen from the same flowers that cause allergies. When you eat honey, you ingest a bit of the allergen that made you sick. With time, the body builds up immunity to these allergens and make seasonal allergy season more tolerable.
Supplements such as vitamin C and zinc are going to be your friends here. Vitamin C has long been known to help reduce allergic reactions, and zinc is great to boost immunity.
LEARN MORE ABOUT YOUR SEASONAL ALLERGYKeeping a record of your symptoms is the ﬁrst step in identifying the allergen to which you are allergic. Monitor what’s happening for you and ask the following questions:
So by all means, be ready for next allergy season before it strikes, especially after a mild winter season.