What is hay fever and how do you get rid of it?
Hayfever is caused when the nose and/or eyes come in contact with environmental allergens: pollens, airborne moulds or dust mites. When your immune system is sensitive to one or more allergens present in the environment, the body experiences a range of visible symptoms.
Types of hayfever: Seasonal and Perennial
Seasonal allergic rhinitis: Symptoms may commonly occur in spring, summer, and early autumn when pollen count from grass, trees and weeds are high in the air. Other allergens can include airborne mould spores. Light breezes and gusts of winds can easily trigger seasonal allergic rhinitis.
Perennial allergic rhinitis: Symptoms of perennial allergic rhinitis are experienced all year round. Pet hair, dust mites and moulds are commonly known to trigger perennial allergic rhinitis. The symptoms have been known to get particularly worse at the beginning of pollen season when there is an increased number of allergens in the air.
Common hay fever symptoms
Hay fever can affect your day to day living and ability to perform routine activities such as going to work, attending school, playing a sport or going for social outings. For some people, the symptoms are mild and non-interfering. Some of the symptoms can be mistaken for a common cold or the flu, but it is important to note that allergy symptoms tend to persist until treated correctly. Here are the common symptoms of hay fever:
- Runny nose
- Blocked nose
- Itchy skin and eyes
- Coughing to clear throat
- Constant sensation of a head cold
Hay fever triggers
When the allergens are present in the air and breathed in through the nose, the nasal passage becomes red and swollen. Here are the most common hay fever triggers to watch out for:
- Environmental allergens: pollens from grass, trees and weeds
- Indoor allergens: Pet hair, dust mites and mould
- Irritants: Diesel exhaust, industrial fuel burning, cigarette smoke, odour from chemicals in cleaning products, laundry detergents, and strong fragrances from perfumes and cosmetics
Hay fever treatment:
A variety of treatment options are available over the counter and your pharmacist will be able to advise you on the most appropriate treatment option. It is recommended that you always discuss your symptoms in detail with your pharmacist and share information about any existing medical conditions.
Your pharmacist may suggest more than one product to target different symptoms. Antihistamines are a suitable treatment option for mild symptoms such as a runny nose and sneezing and usually work fast. In contrast, corticosteroid nasal sprays take a few days to show results, but are more effective in treating blocked noses.
Many hay fever treatments that come in the same dispensing format e.g. nasal sprays or eye drops, do not contain the same active ingredients or class of medicine. They are formulated to target different symptoms so you may need to try a few different products before you find something most suited to relieve your symptoms.
Visit your nearest Life Pharmacy if you have any other questions or queries about hayfever!