With the return of spring, many hay fever sufferers can feel like their allergies are more prevalent than ever. If you’re experiencing hay fever, you may be unsure what’s causing it, or how you should manage your symptoms. We’ve put together a simple guide that breaks down what hay fever is, as well as some tips on management techniques. Read on to better understand your allergies.
So what is hay fever?
Well, it’s the common name for allergic rhinitis, which is an allergy that affects the nose. It’s generally caused by coming into contact with environmental allergens. Usually hay fever is associated with spring, when pollens are at their peak. However, you can still experience hay fever during any time of the year due to allergens like dust mites, mould, or animal furs.
Think of your nose as a filter: the mucus and tiny hairs inside trap dust and pollen. If you experience hay fever, it means you’re allergic to some of these particles. Your body will act as if these particles are dangerous, and will begin producing more mucus to attack back.
Symptoms of hay fever
- Sneezing or a runny nose
- Itchy or watering eyes
- Coughing or wheezing
Managing hay fever
Identifying the cause of allergens, along with the symptoms you experience, is the first step in managing your hay fever. It’s important to keep track of how hay fever affects you, so that your doctor can find the right solution. General medications like nasal sprays, eye drops, and non-sedating antihistamines may help to relieve the symptoms of hay fever.
You can also manage your symptoms at home. Here’s some of our helpful suggestions:
- Reduce your exposure to pollen, dust mites, fur, and other allergens
- Splash your eyes and face with cold water to help flush out allergens
- Avoid activities and environments that increase your exposure to pollen
- Wear sunglasses when possible
- Routinely clean bedding and clothes to avoid continuous contact with allergens
Your doctor may also recommend an allergy test, such as a skin prick or blood test. This will help give them more of an insight into the direct cause your hay fever, and can provide a more direct approach to combating hay fever.