February 9, 2021

Hay Fever & Allergic Rhinitis: Symptoms, Treatment, & Relief

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 19 million Americans suffer from a common allergy called Allergic Rhinitis or "Hay Fever." It can sometimes become difficult to figure out if you are one of the many that may have this condition and what you can do to suppress symptoms. Here are a few tips on what you can do during the "Hay Fever" season.

What is Allergic Rhinitis, and what are the symptoms?

Allergic rhinitis, or what we like to call "hay fever," is a common condition with symptoms similar to those of a cold. This allergic response happens from airborne substances, such as pollen, for example.

Allergic rhinitis can take two different forms: seasonal and perennial. Symptoms of seasonal allergic rhinitis usually occur in spring, summer and/or early fall.

When you have allergic rhinitis, your immune system identifies harmless airborne substances as harmful which then causes your immune system to produce unessential antibodies to this harmless substance. These antibodies signal your immune system to release chemicals such as histamine into your bloodstream, causing a reaction that leads to the signs and symptoms of hay fever.

Allergic rhinitis symptoms can vary from each person, but some of the symptoms of allergic rhinitis include:

  • Sneezing
  • Postnasal drip
  • Watery, itchy eyes
  • Headache
  • Fatigue

The pollens or allergens that are mainly responsible for causing hay fever or allergic rhinitis are: 

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

Why is Allergic Rhinitis called Hay Fever?

Hay fever is called allergic rhinitis because it causes cold-like signs and symptoms. But unlike a cold, hay fever isn't caused by a virus, and although the word “fever” is in the name, hay fever or allergies very, rarely cause fever. If a fever is present along with allergy symptoms, it can usually be attributed to the common cold or a virus.

The Common Effects of Hay Fever, Asthma, and Allergic Rhinitis?

Hay fever can create many complications to those throughout allergy season, which is why we recommend coming in to see an allergist and getting your allergies treated! Some of the difficulties include:  

·    Interference with your quality of life. Hay fever can impede your enjoyment of activities and cause you to be less productive, leading to absences from work or school.

·    Disrupted sleep. The irritating side effects of Hay fever symptoms can keep you awake or make it hard to stay asleep. This, in turn, can lead to fatigue.

·    If you have asthma, you may see an increase in symptoms. Hay fever can worsen the symptoms of asthma, such as coughing and wheezing.

·    Sinusitis. You may increase your susceptibility to sinusitis due to a prolonged sinus congestion caused by Hay Fever. Sinusitis is an infection or inflammation in the membrane that lines your sinuses.

·    Ear infection. This complication usually occurs in children more often. When it happens, it is often in the form of a middle ear infection.

What can I do about my allergic rhinitis?

There are also various ways to treat allergic rhinitis symptoms. Here are some tips, but usually immunotherapy, a process of slowly introducing your body and building up its tolerance, is the best way to find long-term relief. 

Here are some easy-to-follow tips to help your allergic rhinitis or hay fever:

  • Check the pollen count regularly. Pollen count tends to be higher on humid and windy, non-rainy days and during the early evening. When the pollen count is high, keep windows and doors shut.
  • Avoid mowing the lawn during peak allergy season or get someone else to do it for you! Also, choose low-pollen days for gardening, and stay away from grassy areas during high pollen count days.
  • Shower and change your clothes after coming indoors when pollen counts are high.
  • Protect the eyes from pollen by using wrap-around glasses on high pollen days.
  • Keep windows closed when driving at high-count times. You also can have your car fitted with a pollen filter.
  • Make sure your vacuum cleaner has a good filter.
  • Use "mite-proof" bedding, like pillow and mattress covers.
  • Use a dehumidifier to prevent mold.
  • Wipe down pets when they come in from outside on a high pollen count day. 

Can asthma inhalers be used for allergic rhinitis?

Yes. People who have asthma and allergic rhinitis can use their asthma inhaler regularly to help with their symptoms, however it may only provide short-term relief.

How effective is albuterol for treating allergies?

Depending on the severity of your asthma, albuterol can be used to help treat your allergies. Albuterol is used mainly in breathing treatment machines and nebulizers.

Please ask an allergist or allergy specialist for a plan if you know your problematic allergy season is coming up! Remember: It’s best to seek help BEFORE the season hits, so you can start your treatment plan and have it start working before the pollen hits the air.

At Aspire Allergy & Sinus, our specialists are trained and experienced in testing, diagnosing, and treating allergies. So, if you are ready to get rid of the short-term, over-the-counter solutions, request an appointment with us today!

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