Spring is a lovely season to go outdoors enjoy the sunshine and gentle breeze, especially because it comes after the harsh cold winters. But it’s not as pleasant as it seems for everyone. As you breathe in the fresh air you may also be at risk of inhaling pollen and dust mites that the Spring Season abundantly brings with itself which can cause an allergic reaction in some people and bring irksome symptoms to deal with.

 

This allergic reaction to pollen and dust mites is known as Hay Fever (allergic rhinitis). It occurs seasonally, usually from March to September. However, unlike with viral or bacterial infections, the symptoms of hay fever can last for months due to ongoing pollen exposure.

 

 

  • Symptoms of Hay Fever

 

 

Some of the symptoms include:

 

~ sneezing

~ a runny or stuffy nose

~ itchy ears, nose and throat

~ red, itchy or watery eyes

~ headaches

 

In some cases, the symptoms of hay fever can be so severe that a person can’t sleep or concentrate, and may feel tired or unwell.

 

There are a few risk factors which can predispose us to this condition. Having a pre-existing allergic condition, such as asthma or eczema, can often be associated with an increased risk of hay fever. Additionally, family history can also contribute to hay fever prevalence. Other factors such as exhaust fumes and cigarette smoke can exacerbate and provoke hay fever symptoms.

 

 

  • Causes of Hay Fever

 

 

When we inhale these pollens or dust mites the immune system responds to it as if it were a threat, such as a virus or pathogenic bacteria, and mounts a rapid response resulting in symptoms. Even though pollen is usually invisible in the air and is harmless, it is a potent stimulator of allergy. Pollen lodges in the nasal lining tissues and other parts of the respiratory tract, where it initiates the allergic response. Your immune system then produces antibodies to this harmless substance. The next time you come in contact with the substance, these antibodies signal your immune system to release chemicals such as histamine into your bloodstream, which cause a reaction that leads to the signs and symptoms of hay fever.

 

 

  • Effects and Complications of Hay Fever

 

 

Problems that may be associated with hay fever include:

 

~ Reduced quality of life: Hay fever can interfere with your enjoyment of activities and cause you to be less productive. For many people, hay fever symptoms lead to absences from work or school.

~ Poor sleep: Hay fever symptoms can keep you awake or make it hard to stay asleep, which can lead to fatigue and a general feeling of being unwell (malaise).

~ Worsening asthma: Hay fever can worsen signs and symptoms of asthma, such as coughing and wheezing.

~ Sinusitis: Prolonged sinus congestion due to hay fever may increase your susceptibility to sinusitis — an infection or inflammation of the membrane that lines the sinuses.

~ Ear infection: In children, hay fever often is a factor in middle ear infection.

 

  • Preventing and Managing Hay Fever

 

 

There’s no way to avoid getting hay fever. If you have hay fever, the best thing to do is to lessen your exposure to the allergens that cause your symptoms. Identifying the allergen/s causing the symptoms is an important part of managing hay fever. In some cases, the cause may be obvious but in others, your doctor will need to consider your medical history together with the results of allergy tests. Some medications may help relieve the symptoms of hay fever, like, Nasal Sprays, Eye Drops, Antihistamine drugs, etc.

 

Many essential nutrients can also help you prevent and reduce the symptoms of Hay Fever. Vitamin C, B Vitamins, essential fats, Probiotics, and Nettle contain natural antihistamine and anti-inflammatory properties and can also help in immune balancing.

If you suffer from Hay Fever, making these dietary and lifestyle changes, and starting early before the pollen season, could help with the management of symptoms. Doing so will hopefully enable you to enjoy the warmth and daylight that the spring and summer months bring.

 

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