Symptoms & Preventive Measures For Hay Fever

Sneezing, wheezing, runny nose, watery eyes, fuzzy head and fatigue? This might sound like a typical cold, but if symptoms last for weeks and include an itchy throat, it’s probably hay fever.

Hay fever is not caused by hay and does not even cause a fever. Sometimes referred to as “rose fever”, the symptoms make the change in seasons miserable for up to one in five people who suffer from allergies. Officially called allergia rhinitis, hay fever is caused by an allergic reaction to pollen from flowering trees in spring, grasses in summer and ragweed in fall, when our body’s immune system overreacts to the powdery microspores from plants blowing through the air.

Pollen seems invisible. “But allergy symptoms can be more than just bothersome or irritating,” explains Dr. Andrew Murphy of the Asthma, Allergy & Sinus Center in Pennsylvania. Hay fever causes congestion, affects breathing, and serious cases can lead to skin rashes, sinus infections and asthma. “Allergies can interfere with day-to-day activities and sleep, resulting in missed work or school, a loss of productivity and a poor quality of life.”

Are allergies inherited?
“Seasonal allergy problems often start at around 4 or 5 years old, or even younger,” explains Dr. Murphy, a board-certified allergist. Some people develop allergies to dust, molds, chemicals, animals, insect bites and foods that trigger reactions. Although not hereditary, “Parents can pass on the potential to be allergic to a child, but not a specific allergic disease,” he says. There is a 25 percent chance a kid could develop an allergy if a parent is allergic.

A variety of treatments
Rather than self-diagnose, consult a doctor for a skin test to identify the specific allergy and determine a suitable treatment plan. Over-the-counter products like antihistamines, nasal sprays and decongestants can relieve symptoms. Prescription medications may be required or immunotherapy (allergy shots or oral) to desensitize the system. Other preventative measures can help, depending on the severity of the condition.


Become a member of Reward Me and get exclusive offers!

Become a member

“Too often in medicine, treatment is targeted at the symptom,” says Dr. Murphy who believes his specialty offers a model for health care. “Allergy/immunology physicians bring a different perspective. We seek to identify the cause of the problem and develop a treatment plan to cure the patient.”

The doctor recommends easy ways to eliminate pollen in the home, such as keeping windows and doors closed during allergy season, minimize early morning activity when pollen levels are highest and showering before bedtime.

Dr. Murphy is allergic to cats. His solution? Avoidance. Proof that the classic saying may be true -- an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Also, learn the symptoms and common myths about common cold.

Read useful healthy living tips at Reward Me.

Check out more heath & wellbeing tips at our blog.

Confirm your personal information

In order to finalize your request, please fill-in the requested information below.