It's that time of year!What is hay fever?
Allergic Rhinitis, or hay fever as it is more commonly known, is an inflammation of the mucous membrane that lines the nose due to an allergy to pollen, dust or other airborne substances.
What are the symptoms of hay fever?
Symptoms include sneezing, nasal congestion or runny nose and less frequently itchy or runny eyes and sore or tickly throat.
Who is most likely to suffer?
Hay fever tends to effect between 5 to 10 % of the population. It is common in people who suffer from other allergies including asthma or eczema, it has a tendency to run in families, effects more women than men and usually develops before the age of 30.
What causes hay fever?
Otherwise harmless substances known as allergens generally cause hay fever. Most common allergens are tree, grass and weed pollens;moulds;anamil skin scales, hair, or feathers; house dust; and house dust mites.
How is the body affected?
The inhalation of these allergens causes an exaggerated reponse by the body's immune system, which forms antibodies. They also cause the release of histamine which causes an inflammation of the lining of the nose and the sinuses. As a result the nose gets blocked or runny and the eyes water.
When is the worst time of year?
This depends on what allergen you are allergic to. Tree pollens will cause most trouble in the spring, whereas grass pollens cause most reaction during the summer. Household allergens can cause sufferers to have symptoms throughout the year.
What causes the pollen count to vary?
This is due to weather conditions. The pollen count is generally high on dry, warm windy weather and is worse inland.
How do I prevent suffering?
By following a few guidelines you should reduce the incidence of the symptoms. · Firstly wear sunglass when outdoors on days when the pollen levels are high. · If you are gardening, shower after you finish as pollen can still be in your hair and on your skin and can still effect you hours later. · If you are indoors try to keep windows and doors closed so as pollen cannot enter.
What medicines can I use to prevent suffering?
It is always better to only use medicines as a last resort for any condition. However as with hay fever the symptoms can reduce the quality of life for sufferers. There are a number of different products available over the counter from your local pharmacy: