Hay Fever is a response triggered by exposure to allergens. The human sense organs are affected by the presence of certain allergens in the atmosphere. Hay Fever is characterized by heavy sneezing, runny nose, itching eyes, nose and throat and is ‘not’ accompanied by fever.
Hay Fever can affect anyone anytime, especially children.
Hay Fever may be caused by:
- Allergens like pollens, fungus, mould & dust mites
- Animal dander which is small flakes which are shed by pets like cats and dogs
- Furs and feathers found in beddings and curtains
- Genetics and a family history of allergies and asthma
The symptoms of Hay Fever include:
- Stuffy and runny nose
- Excessive sneezing with dripping from the nose
- Itch and pain in the nose, throat and roof of the mouth
- Watery eyes with head and nasal congestion
- Pressure in the ear and fatigue
The doctor may diagnose the condition of Hay Fever by the presence of the symptoms and your medical and family history. Apart from these, a skin test may be advised for the presence of allergies.
In addition a blood test may be required, to check for the presence of antibodies.
An Ear Nose Throat Specialist (ENT Specialist) is the doctor to visit in case of severe symptoms.
The major difference between common cold and Hay Fever symptoms are:
Duration: Common cold lasts for a week or 10 days while Hay Fever may last longer
Season: Common cold can affect any time of the year while Hay Fever is more prevalent in the summer months
Itching: Common cold is not accompanied by severe itching while Hay Fever is characterized by heavy itching in the nose, eyes and throat
Running nose: In cold, the nose is stuffy and discharge is thick while in Hay Fever the nasal discharge is clear and watery
Fever: Surprisingly, Hay Fever is not accompanied by fever while a viral infection like cold is accompanied by fever
Occurrence: Hay Fever is not contagious like cold
Hay Fever is not curable but the symptoms can be treated effectively. Hay Fever is the result of allergies and allergic reactions. Hence the symptoms of Hay Fever improve with age. The treatment may help reduce the symptoms but prevention is always better, particularly if it is in the genes.
If genes are the cause of Hay Fever, then one can reduce the severity of symptoms by avoiding the risk factors.
As the Hay Fever is due to allergic reaction, it can be seasonal or throughout the year depending on the allergy, so one should exercise caution like avoiding the factors which cause the allergy and by cultivating healthy food habits and by exercising good hygiene.
The best way to fight allergies is to strengthen the immune system and avoiding the risk factors where possible.