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Hayfever (seasonal Allergic Rhinitis) is an allergic Disorder

Dan Ahern

Hay fever (seasonal allergic rhinitis) is an allergic disorder.  

 

For a person with allergy to pollen, when pollen comes into contact with the nose, eyes, mouth or throat, their body produces an antibody to attack the pollen. The body then releases several chemicals including histamine. These chemicals cause the symptoms of an allergic reaction which we associate with hay fever.

Hay fever is called ‘seasonal’ allergic rhinitis because symptoms are most prevalent at particular times of the year when pollen or spore counts are high. People with a family history of allergies, especially asthma or eczema are more likely to get hay fever.

The pollen season can last from

  • early spring (tree pollen),
  • through the summer (grass pollen) and
  • finish in the autumn (fungal spores). 

Hay fever symptoms

Hay fever symptoms can be similar to a cold. Generally hay fever symptoms include one or more of the following:

  • Rhinorrhoea (runny nose) often clear and watery.
  • Nasal itching and nasal congestion which in more severe cases may result in headache or perhaps earache.
  • An itchy throat, mouth and ears.
  • Watery, red and itchy eyes.
  • Prolonged sneezing attacks.

Tips to improve your allergy symptoms

  1. Try to identify your allergic triggers - If you suffer from symptoms during the spring and summer, then it is likely that pollen is an allergic trigger. The calendar shows when different types of pollen are prevalent
  2. Keep doors and windows shut to prevent pollen from blowing indoors
  3. Change your clothes and have a shower if you’ve been outside all day to remove pollen that may have settled on you.
  4. Drying clothes outside can also cause pollen to settle on them, so if possible hang washing indoors instead.
  5. If you have indoor allergy triggers, try to keep your house clean and well ventilated to reduce exposure to dust and moulds.

However, it is difficult to avoid pollen. Especially when the pollen count is high so OTC products can be recommended to provide symptomatic relief.  As hay fever and allergies often present with more than one symptom, combinations of products may often be recommended to optimise symptom control.

Controlling Hayfever - Prevention is better than cure!!

Now is the time to start a regime to prevent Hayfever from seriously affecting you in the months ahead. A quick & easy daily 3–step routine will allow you to enjoy the summer:-

  1. Cleanse the nasal passages with a saline spray (Sterimar) or wash (Neilmed) to rinse out the nasal passages and remove excess mucus and some allergens.
  2. Prevent against the release of histamine by using a steroid nasal spray (Nasacort/ Flixonase) These reduce irritation and inflammation in the nose, helping to prevent symptoms like nasal congestion and sneezing & they can also relieve watery, itchy eyes. It usually takes a few days of application before they start working, so start using them about two weeks before symptoms normally begin.
  3. Protect the nasal mucosa by forming a protective seal with a spray Becondefence. Once sprayed into the nose, the gel forms an impermeable layer on the mucosa for protection against pollen irritation. This prevents pollen from triggering the mast cells and releasing histamine.

This 3-step routine of Cleanse, Prevent & Protect is most effective when used continuously throughout the hay fever season, including days when no symptoms are present.


Treating an accute attack

If you are suffering from an acute attack you may need to use anti histamine tablets (Telfast/Zirtek/Clarityn) and eye drops along with you nasal sprays to control the symptoms such as sneezing and watery eyes

However anti histamine tablets and eye drops can only help when you are suffering from hayfever symptoms they will not provide protective cover.

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