Hay Fever

Hay fever is an allergic inflammation of the nasal airways. The medical name for it is allergic rhinitis. It happens when an allergen such as pollen or dust is inhaled by someone with a sensitized immune system, and triggers antibody production. The antibodies attach to mast cells, which contain histamine. When the mast cells are stimulated by pollen and dust, they release histamine, which causes swelling, itching and mucus. The symptoms are different in everyone, and depends on how sever it is. People who are very sensitive can get hives or other rashes. The dust in polluted air and chemicals such as chlorine can worsen the condition.

There are two categories that hay fever can be classified in. Seasonal, which occurs particularly during pollen seasons and only develops after the age of six, and Perennial, which occurs throughout the year and is most common in younger children.

The symptoms of hay fever include conjunctival swelling and erythema, eyelid swelling, lower eyelid venous stasis, lateral crease on the nose, swollen nasal turbinates, and middle ear effusion. There might also be cross-reactivity, where someone allergic to birch pollen may also find out that they have an allergic reaction to the skin of apples or potatoes. A clear sign of this is when you get an itchy throat after eating an apple or sneezing when peeling potatoes or apples. This happens because the proteins in the pollen and the food are similar. If you have other disorders, such as asthma and migraine, it might be associated with other allergies that you might have.

Hay fever can be treated like any other allergic condition. Eliminating exposure to allergens is the most effective preventive measure, but requires consistent effort. Many people with pollen allergies reduce their exposure by remaining indoors during hay fever season, particularly in the morning and evening, when outdoor pollen levels are at their highest. Closing all the windows and doors stops pollen from being blown into the house or office. When traveling in a vehicle, close all the windows to reduce exposure. Special pollen filters can also be fitted into air conditioning systems in both your house and your vehicle.


Allergic rhinitis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (n.d.).Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved September 2, 2010, fromhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allergic_rhinitis
Hay Fever Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment on eMedicineHealth.com. (n.d.).eMedicineHealth - experts in everyday emergencies, first aid and health information. Retrieved September 2, 2010, from http://www.emedicinehealth.com/hay_fever/article_em.htm

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