What Is It
Allergic Rhinitis, more commonly known as hay fever is an allergy-related inflammation of the nose passages, throat and eyes caused by airborne pollens and moulds. Airborne pollens come from anything and everything, mostly from trees, grasses and weeds.
Each different pollen triggers different reactions in different people – confusing right! It actually means that no two peoples “hay fever season” is the same, although they are pretty predictable depending on the seasons for example flowers in spring.
Interestingly enough as mould depends on damp, dark conditions people who are allergic to moulds have the least predictable season.
- Itchy and runny nose
- Stuffy nose
- Red, itchy and watery eyes
- Itchy and sore throat
Your GP will ask you a series of questions some of which will include your symptoms, family history and personal history of other allergy-related conditions like eczema, hives and asthma. To identify what is triggering your hay fever, your doctor might refer you to an allergist. An allergist will perform a skin test, where a small amount of a specific allergen is scratched, pricked or injection into the skin. Results generally take around 10-20 minutes.
Although your hay fever symptoms may reappear each year when the offending plant begins to bloom they actually depend to diminish as you grow older. Although some people do not develop hay fever until adulthood.
You can help prevent hay fever attacks by reducing your exposure to the suspected allergens. Some simple ways are to:
- Stay indoors as much as possible, during the period when you know that your hay fever symptoms will flare. Note: pollen counts tend to be highest before 10am and after sunset.
- Keep your windows closed and cool down using an air conditioner or the Dyson purifier range which also removes 99.5% of fine particles in the air such as allergens and pollutants.
- When travelling in a car, drive with your external vents closed and air conditioning on.
- Limit activities with heavy exposure to pollen for example mowing and leaf blowing.
- Shower and wash your hair before bed to remove any pollen that has accumulated throughout the day.
- Dry your clothes inside, on a line or in a dryer. Clothes that dry on an outside line can gather pollen.
The best way to treat hay fever is to minimize exposure to the allergens all together (see prevention). There are also numerous prescription and non-prescription medications which will help ease nasal congestion. Nasal sprays are also a great way to relieve symptom but should not be used for more than three consecutive days.