Hay fever is an immune disorder characterized by an allergic response to pollen or mould. Also known as allergic rhinitis, there are two types, i.e. seasonal, which occurs only during the time of year in which certain plants pollinate, and perennial, which occurs all year round.
When pollen grains or mould spores get into our eyes, nose, or airways, they cause symptoms such as sneezing, a runny or blocked nose, itching in our eyes and nose, watery, red eyes and a cough. Some may also develop wheezing, i.e. a high-pitched whistling as they breathe out. Symptoms can develop at any time from early spring to early autumn, depending on which pollens or moulds trigger the allergy. We may want to know that hay fever tends to run in families that have a high incidence of allergic conditions such as asthma and eczema, but what has been noted is that many people seem to grow out of the problem as they get older.
On the other hand, the doctor may be able to diagnose hay fever based on a physical exam and observation of your symptoms. In this case, Skin tests may be recommended to determine which pollens cause the most sensitivity. The doctor will apply drops that containing a small amount of possible allergy-causing substances to your arm or back using small plastic toothpicks. The procedure is painless and draws no blood. If your skin becomes red, raised, and itchy after 20 minutes, the test has pinpointed the offending allergens. Also, a radioallergosorbent test, or RAST, may be used to check your blood for elevated levels of the antibodies produced by the immune system to guard against specific allergens.
In general, I would say that for hay fever, the best approach is to avoid those known allergens and triggers such as smoke and dust. We may want to practise the following alternative medicine ways:
- Try to avoid substances that can further irritate our nose and eyes, such as tobacco smoke or dust, perfumes, or some strong-smelling chemicals.
- Have a shower and wash your hair before bed to remove pollen that has built up during the day.
- Dry clothes inside if possible, however, if you do dry washing outside, bring it in before the evening.
- When the pollen count is high on those hot, dry, windy days at mid-morning and early evening, it is suggested to stay indoors as much as possible and by keeping windows and doors closed. If you are in a car, keep the windows and air vents closed. The good news is that some modern cars can have pollen filters installed.
You may want to know that most people are able to control their symptoms using over-the-counter remedies as well as certain prescription drugs. You may want to try the following to see what works best for you.Antihistamine
– is commonly used to control allergic symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose and itchy eyes. We should take the online pharmacy
or liquids as soon as allergic reaction occurs, or to prevent one. It is a convenient treatment that can be used on a one-off or regularly basis, or with nose sprays or eye drops if antihistamine doesn't ease the symptoms by itself. They should quickly relieve most hay fever symptoms, including sneezing, although they may not as effective as steroids for a blocked nose.
Non-sedating over-the-counter antihistamine shall contain loratadine or cetirizine while sedating type likely will contain diphenhydramine, promethazine or chlorphenamine. Side effects: Sedating types may cause drowsiness.Steroid nasal spray
- is particularly effective in helping to prevent or relieve sneezing, watering, itching, and stuffiness in your nose. You can use the spray either alone or with an antihistamine. Steroid nasal sprays relieve nasal symptoms more effectively than antihistamines. They can take several days to reach their full effect, so try to start the treatment before the hay fever season begins, and use the spray daily. Steroid nasal spray will contain a steroid drug that prevents or relieves hay fever attacks, and a runny nose due to other allergies as it works by reducing irritation and swelling in the nose.
Prescription nasal sprays included Rhinocort, Beconase, Flonase, Veramyst, Vancenase, Nasonex, Nasalide, Flixonase and Nasobec Hayfever. These prescription drugs will have active ingredients such as beclomethasone, flunisolide, budesonide, fluticasone and others. Side effects: may dry and irritate nasal lining.Sodium cromoglicate nasal spray
- can be used as an alternative to a steroid nasal spray for mild symptoms although it is not generally as effective when compared with a nasal sprays containing steroids, which have stronger anti-inflammatory and help with many allergy symptoms. On the plus side, it can be used for long-term treatment and has few side effects. Side effects: may briefly irritate the lining of your nose. Common brands included Rynacrom, Nasalcrom.
For itchy and red eyes
due to hay fever and other causes of allergic conjunctivitis, i.e. allergy to house dust mites, use sodium cromoglicate or antihistamine eye drops. Eye drops containing sodium cromoglicate or antihistamine can prevent or relieve symptoms, although they take a few days to have a noticeable effect by using them continuously. Side effects: may briefly irritate your eyes. Precautions: don’t wear contact lenses while using the eye drops.Decongestant drugs
- can be used in the short term to clear a blocked nose. They can also be used to help clear your nose when starting a course of a steroid nasal spray. Decongestants are available in nasal sprays, drops and in tablets, and will act quickly to relieve symptoms of hay fever, colds and sinusitis. They are good for occasional use. Do not use them for more than 7 days as they may make you feel more blocked up when you stop. You may want to know that some over-the-counter nasal sprays may contain both a decongestant and an antihistamine, which are used to help with pain and itching by opening clogged nasal passages and reducing inflammation.
Side effects: occasional stinging, itching or sneezing. Precautions: consult a doctor if you are taking prescribed drugs or have diabetes, heart disease, or high blood pressure. Common Sudafed decongestant may have active ingredient such as xylometazoline, pseudoephedrine, or oxymetazoline in Vicks Sinex.Allergy Shots
- if you have extreme hay fever, you may want to try allergy shots, or what we called immunotherapy. This treatment involves a series of injections of increasingly larger amounts of the allergen until your system becomes desensitized to it and no longer overreacts in response to it. Immunotherapy has shown positive results in up to 75% of sufferers with extreme cases of hay fever. Standard treatment usually last from one to three years.
Arrange to see your doctor if there is no improvement or your hay fever becoming worse after following any treatment as suggested here for 2-3 weeks.