Every year, millions of people find themselves sneezing, congested, and uncomfortable sinus pressure. Most assume that they’ve merely caught a common cold. In reality, it can actually be something known as allergic rhinitis. In layman’s speak: Hay fever.
Hay fever has been around for as long as we have. The condition is triggered by different particles in the air that cause these uncomfortable reactions. There are a number of different kinds of hay fever: Those that hit seasonally or those that can affect us year-round. Even though it’s been observed for hundreds of years, it wasn’t until 1819 that physician John Bostock first classified it as a disease. Since then, we’ve come to understand a lot about the condition. Its modalities and treatments are no longer guesswork. Here’s a brief look at the symptoms, causes, and treatments of this common condition.
The symptoms of hay fever are remarkably similar to those of the common cold. In fact, it’s for that very reason that people often confuse one for the other. Hay fever sufferers will often have runny noses, an uncomfortable pressure build up in the sinuses and easily fall into fits of sneezing.
Coughing and scratchy throats are also common symptoms. Occasionally, there will be a dark swelling under the eyes that will create what is known as “allergic shiners.” Not everyone will show every symptom. Few people, actually, will display the full range. But if you’re experiencing a large number of them, then the odds of you having it are dramatically increased.
Causes of Hay Fever:
Although hay fever and the common cold are symptomatically similar, their causes are quite different. The common cold is caused by the rhinovirus. Hay fever is caused by allergic reactions to the surrounding environment. This is where the condition gets its name.
Many people would suffer the symptoms when handling hay. The name now, though, is considered archaic. Most people no longer have allergic reactions to hay; few cases of that sort spring up these days.
There are two main kinds of allergies in regards to the condition. There are seasonal allergies and then there are chronic ones. The seasonal allergies are those that come up in a particular season. Summer is a particularly tough time for many as it a prime opportunity for grass pollen to assault our senses.
Spring, autumn, and winter all offer their own unique allergens.
Chronic hay fever is caused by more permanent environmental contaminants. Things like rats, cockroaches, and other pests can carry around particles of filth. If your home is infested with such animals, then it’s probable that you will suffer a chronic allergic reaction.
Fortunately, hay fever isn’t incurable by any stretch of the imagination but it is advisable that you seek advice for a pharmacy. Since this condition has been with us for hundreds of years, we’ve had plenty of time to devise useful remedies.
Modern medicine offers a useful breadth of medication to prevent or treat allergic reactions associated with hay fever. Antihistamines are a popular option. These help with itching, sneezing, and runny nose and are often taken in the form of a pill. They aren’t too terribly good at helping with congestion, though. Decongestants (as their name implies) are a good alternative if the congestion is your biggest issue.
There are other ways to treat the condition without popping over the counter medications. Extracts of the butterbur shrub, for instance, has been linked to lessening allergy symptoms. Other possible remedies include capsicum, vitamin C, and fish oil. However, these haven’t been scientifically proven to help. But the correlation between symptom relief and these items is encouraging to say the least.