Patient's Complete Guide to Hay Fever

Overview of Hay Fever

Hay Fever Meaning in Urdu

فضا میں موجود بہت سے ذرات، جنہیں الجرجنز کہا جاتا ہے، کی وجہ سے اس بیماری کا سامنا کرنا پڑتا ہے۔ اس بیماری کی عام علامات میں کھانسی، چھینکیں، ناک بند ہو جانا یا ناک سے رطوبت بہنا، آںکھوں کا سرخ ہو جانا، سر درد، کانوں کا درد، اور تھکاوٹ شامل ہے۔ اگر دمہ کی بیماری کے دوران اس علامت کا سامنا کرنا پڑے تو چھاتی کی جکڑن کا اور سانس لینے میں مشکلات کا سامنا کرنا پڑ سکتا ہے۔ یہ بیماری کچھ مہینوں تک کے لیے بھی متاثر کر سکتی ہے۔ یہ علامت لاحق ہونے کے بعد ایسی جگہوں پر جانے سے گریز کرنے کا مشورہ دیا جاتا ہے جہاں الرجنز پائے جاتے ہیں۔

Hay fever (موسمی الرجی/Mosmi Allergy) is also termed as “allergic rhinitis”. Symptoms of hay fever are similar to colds. However, hay fever is not caused by a virus but is an allergic reaction in response to various allergens. Common allergens include pollen, dust mites, tiny flecks of skin, and saliva shed by wild animals.

If you are suffering from hay fever your daily routine such as work and school is also disturbed. But the symptoms are not too bad. You can easily avoid allergens by following the right treatment method and some preventive measures.

Occurrence of Hay Fever

Throughout the world, the occurrence of hay fever has slightly worsened. Recently, around 10 to 30% of adults and 40% of children are affected. In Pakistan, hay fever is the most common form of allergy. According to a survey, it affects 24.62% of Pakistanis during each allergy season.

Signs and Symptoms of Hay Fever

The time of symptoms onset can vary depending on the type of allergen. Common symptoms of hay fever include:

  • Sneezing
  • Watery eyes
  • Itchy throat
  • Blocked, itchy, or runny nose
  • Being sweaty
  • Migraine
  • Hypersomnia (loss of smell)
  • Blocked sinuses
  • Throat and nose itching
  • Fatigue, irritability, and insomnia.

Hay Fever Symptoms in Newborns and Children

Hay fever mostly occurs in children under 3 years of age. However, in children, it must be properly treated. According to research, genetics plays an important role in the development of asthma along with hay fever in children. Serious signs and symptoms can lead to prolonged conditions such as:

  • Asthma
  • Sinusitis
  • Chronic ear infections

Newborns usually face issues in coping up with symptoms of hay fever. It affects their concentration and sleeping habits. Sometimes the signs are confused with the common cold. 

Prolonged Symptoms of Hay Fever

Hay fever signs usually start instantly after you’re exposed to a certain allergen. Having these signs for more than a few days can result in:

  • Clogged ears
  • Sore throat
  • Loss of smelling power
  • Headaches
  • Dark circles under the eyes
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Puffiness under the eyes

Factors that Worsen the Symptoms of Hay Fever

Hay fever symptoms may be worsened by other irritating agents. This is because of the inflammation of the nasal membrane.

These irritants are listed below:

  • Wood smoke
  • Air pollution
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Wind
  • Aerosol sprays
  • Strong odours
  • Changes in temperature
  • Changes in humidity
  • Irritating fumes

Seasonal Factors

Your hay fever signs and symptoms may begin or intensify at a specific season. Triggers include:

  • Tree pollen
  • Grass pollen 
  • Ragweed pollen 
  • Dust mites, cockroaches, and dander from pets
  • Spores from indoor and outdoor fungi and moulds

Causes of Hay Fever

  • If you are suffering from hay fever your immune system detects an innocuous airborne substance that is detrimental too.
  • Further, antibodies are produced against this substance. In the next season, when you encounter the same substance again the immune system directs the antibodies to produce histamine. 
  • Histamine is a specific chemical in your blood that initiates the reaction that appears in the form of signs and symptoms.

Risk Factors of Hay Fever

Chances of hay fever are increased by the following factors: 

  • Asthma and other allergies
  • Atopic dermatitis (eczema)
  • Siblings or parents with allergies or asthma
  • Continuous exposure to allergens
  • Genetic factors (if a family member has hay fever your chances of developing it also increased)
  • Mother with a smoking habit

Health-Related Complications of Hay Fever:

If hay fever is not treated properly following complications can occur:

  • The Decrease in Quality of Life: Hay fever may affect the daily activities of your life and makes you less productive.

  • Sleep Deprivation: Hay fever symptoms affect your sleeping habits that lead to insomnia, fatigue, and malaise.

  • Severe Asthma: Your asthma becomes worse if you develop hay fever.

  • Sinusitis: Sinus issues due to hay fever enhance the susceptibility to sinusitis — an inflammation of sinuses membranes.

  • Ear Infection: In children, hay fever leads to otitis media (middle ear infection).

Prevention

It is possible sometimes to cure hay fever by taking some basic precautions, such as:

  • Wearing wraparound sunglasses to stop the pollen from getting into your eyes.
  • Taking shower and changing clothes everytime you go outdoors to remove the pollen from the body.
  • By staying indoor when the pollen count is high (over 50 grains per cubic meter of air).
  • Applying a little amount of vaseline  on the tip of your nose, in order to trap pollen.

Diagnosis

To choose the right treatment method, your doctor will ask about your family history. Diagnosis involves the following:

  • A blood test that identifies the allergy-causing substance. 
  • Blood examination will estimate the level of IgE antibodies. In the presence of allergen levels of antibodies will be high. The test completes in about 20 minutes.
  • Skin test in which a small amount of allergen is injected into the skin.
  • Another skin-prick test also involves the injection of allergen in the skin but is completed after around 20 minutes.

Treatment of Hay Fever | When to Consult a Doctor

Following are the treatments that are opted for the Hay Fever

  • Home Remedies for Hay Fever

    Hay fever can be treated by using some home remedies such as:

  • Saline nasal irrigation
  • Use of HEPA filters
  • Butterbur for itchy eyes
  • Bromelain to enhance breathing
  • Acupuncture for allergic rhinitis
  • Probiotics
  • Honey
  • Vitamin C
  • Peppermint essential oil

A wide variety of over-the-counter (OTC) treatments can be used for hay fever. Sometimes, a combination of two or more treatment methods is best. A doctor can tell you about the options.

  • Medications

These include:

  • Antihistamine Sprays or Tablets: They are easily available OTC, that prevent the release of histamine. These treatments provide relief from a runny nose, itching, and sneezing. However, blocked sinuses cannot be treated. Older antihistamines can result in drowsiness.
  • Eye Drops: These minimize itching and swelling of the eyes. They are mostly used in combination with other medicines. Eye drops consist of cromoglycate.
  • Nasal Corticosteroids: These are available in the form of nasal sprays and are used to treat the irritation caused by hay fever. They are safe and effective for long-term treatment. However, benefits may be shown after a short period. Examples include fluticasone (Flonase), fluticasone (Veramyst), mometasone (Nasonex), and beclomethasone (Beconase).
  • Oral Corticosteroids: Serious hay fever symptoms may be treated with prednisone tablets, suggested by your doctor. These are used for only a short period. Prolonged use can cause cataracts, muscle weakness, and bone diseases.
  • Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy is used for long-term treatment. This therapy desensitizes the immune system to the allergens that initiate the symptoms. It is mostly administered in the form of allergy shots. Sublingual drops are also used for people who are suffering from serious ailments.
  • Immunotherapy is a long-treatment method that prevents the initiation of asthma and other allergies. Shots are given by the doctor, however, sublingual immunotherapy can be done at home.
  • Alternative Therapies

Other therapies that can be used to relieve hay fever include acupuncture. However, according to research, these therapies have not proved significant. Herbal remedies are not suggested either. Pregnant women should consult their doctor before taking any medicines. This will minimize the adverse effects on fetus development.

Consult your doctor if your symptoms become so severe that they interfere with your daily routine and you are unable to control it with OTC medicines.

Speciality for Hay Fever

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