Most people welcome Spring but for those who suffer from Hay Fever (also called seasonal allergies, pollen allergy, seasonal rhinitis), it is a time to dread. For them it means itchy eyes, sneezing, runny noses, blocked sinuses and even congested breathing. It is one of the most common allergies and causes a considerable amount of misery each year for those afflicted.
Hay Fever Causes
In Spring plants waken from their Winter sleep to begin the circle of life again. They burst back to life, growing rapidly and have the urge to reproduce fruit or seeds.
Male plant parts create pollen which needs to be taken to the female parts either by insects or by the wind. Fungi and molds also produce tiny reproductive particles called spores.
Hay Fever Season for most people is in the Spring but they can have symptoms at other times of the year depending on which types of spores or pollens trigger their allergy symptoms.
The pollen and spore laden air irritates all the areas that come in contact with it. That means eyes, nose, throat, sinuses and lungs. So the most common symptoms of Hay Fever are itchy watery eyes, sneezing, stuffy or runny noses (Allergic Rhinitis), painful blocked sinuses and coughing.
Hay Fever Treatment
While Hay Fever cannot be cured completely, there are various treatments available to help relieve the symptoms. These include nasal spray (nose spray), antihistamines in tablets form and eye drops. You can buy these over the counter at drug stores but they are also available in higher strengths by prescription from your doctor.
When your symptoms are persistent, your doctor may recommend a treatment known as immunotherapy which involves gradually increasing a person’s exposure to the allergen while carefully monitoring their response. This can be quite effective at reducing the severity of hay fever but it doesn’t work for everyone.