What Is Hay Fever Symptoms?


What Is Hay Fever?

What Is Hay Fever?

Hay fever, or pollen allergy, is one of the most common allergies. Hay fever is a hypersensitivity or allergic reaction of your body to pollen. This pollen consists of the pollen from grasses, flowers, plants, and trees in bloom. Hay fever symptoms occur when the pollen enters the eyes, nose, mouth, throat, or windpipe.


Cause of Hay Fever

If you suffer from hay fever, your body reacts violently when pollen enters your body. Your immune system thinks that the harmless substance pollen is dangerous and releases large amounts of histamine to render the "hostile" pollen harmless. Among other things, histamine causes your blood vessels to dilate. The mucous membrane in the throat, nose, and airways thickens and produces more mucus. This is the cause of the characteristic symptoms of hay fever, such as itchy and burning eyes, swollen eyes, runny nose, and sneezing fits.

Hay fever season

When pollen is in the air depends on the weather. This is because the weather influences the flowering period of grasses, flowers, plants, and trees. Most trees, grasses, and plants bloom between February and September. The peak of the hay fever season is usually in May and June (the grass flowering period).

Hay fever later in life

Some people develop hay fever between the ages of 20 and 30. Sometimes hay fever develops at a very young age. Boys are more likely to suffer from hay fever than girls. In many people, the symptoms decrease as they get older, but hay fever can also develop later in life.


Symptoms of Hay Fever

The symptoms of hay fever can vary from person to person. They can be present simultaneously or alternately due to the different flowering periods of the grasses, plants, and trees. Common symptoms of hay fever are:

  • Runny nose
  • Watery or itchy eyes
  • Red or swollen eyelids
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Stuffy nose
  • Chest tightness
  • Itching (in the throat)
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue
  • Listlessness
  • Skin rash
  • Asthmatic symptoms, such as wheezing.

A hay fever calendar (pollen radar) clarifies the amount and type of pollen in the air at any given time. If you know to which pollen you are allergic, you can use a hay fever calendar to estimate when your symptoms may arise. Also, during the hay fever season, a hay fever report is often included in the weather forecast. This allows you to make preparations to reduce or prevent an allergic reaction, about which more below.


Hay Fever Treatment

Hay fever symptoms can be annoying. Fortunately, some treatments can help reduce hay fever.

You can treat hay fever with:

  • Hay fever tablets
  • Hay fever nasal spray
  • Hay fever eye drops
  • Hay fever tape
  • Immunotherapy

Which of these methods you choose depends on the hay fever symptoms you are experiencing.

Hay fever tablets

Hay fever tablets help to reduce symptoms such as an itchy nose and watery eyes. You can take the pills at the time you already have symptoms. The antihistamine tablets then inhibit the action of histamine.

Hay fever nasal spray

Four different types of nasal sprays can relieve the symptoms of hay fever in the nose:

  • Nasal spray with antihistamines helps to reduce symptoms such as sneezing and itchy eyes as quickly as possible. You can use the spray preventively, or at the time you start experiencing symptoms. If you want to use the spray preventively, you can use the spray fifteen minutes before you expect much pollen.
  • A cromoglicic acid nasal spray prevents the release of histamine and works mainly preventively. Start this medicine in time. It can take one to three weeks before the effect is optimal. Should you still experience symptoms, you can also use antihistamine tablets at the same time.
  • Nasal spray with natural microgel is effective for both long-term and short-term nasal complaints. The microgel forms a thin layer on the nasal mucosa, preventing pollen from reaching your nasal membranes. As a result, no allergic reaction takes place.
  • Nasal spray with corticosteroids has an anti-inflammatory effect and reduces your body's hypersensitivity reaction. In addition, the nasal spray prevents the swelling of the nasal mucosa.

Eye drops against hay fever.

There are two different types of hay fever eye drops:

  • Can use antihistamine eye drops for sudden onset of symptoms such as sneezing and itching. The eye drops have a fast-acting antihistamine and inhibit the action of histamine. The eye drops are available by prescription only.
  • Cromoglicic acid eye drops to prevent the release of the substances that generally occur during an allergic reaction. This allows you to avoid an allergic reaction. Should use these drops before symptoms appear so that can prevent hay fever symptoms.

Hay fever tape

In addition to eye drops, hay fever tablets, and nasal sprays, there are other treatments available to relieve your hay fever symptoms. Medical taping can alleviate symptoms such as itchy eyes, frequent sneezing, tightness in the chest, and a stuffy nose due to hay fever. Medical taping uses a specific technique to apply tape to the skin. 

Usually, this concerns the skin of the back, but sometimes the skin of the chest is also taped. This affects the area under your skin and reaches the organs involved in hay fever, such as the lungs. 

This causes the allergic response mechanism to be soothed, which can relieve hay fever symptoms. However, the effect of this technique has not been scientifically proven.

Immunotherapy for hay fever

Immunotherapy is generally done for severe forms of allergy. Immunotherapy not only treats the hay fever symptoms but tries to counteract the allergic reaction itself. 

When you undergo immunotherapy, an allergen solution is introduced into your body. This solution consists of small amounts of the substance you are allergic to.

For example, in hay fever, you are given a certain amount of allergens from pollen. Through this therapy, your immune system is, as it were, "re-programmed", and your body gets used to the substance. Eventually, you become less sensitive to pollen.

Immunotherapy takes about three to five years and consists of two phases. The treatment is administered using injections and melting tablets. Although the symptoms do not always disappear completely, they will be relieved.


Hay Fever and Pregnancy

During your pregnancy or while breastfeeding, you cannot use certain hay fever medications. This is because the substances used in these medications can enter the placenta through your blood. 

The implications can also reach your baby through breast milk. Do you suffer from hay fever and want to know which hay fever medications you can and cannot use (and for how long)? Then contact your doctor.


What Can You Do Yourself Against Hay Fever Symptoms?

To reduce hay fever symptoms as much as possible, you can reduce the symptoms with the above treatments. But there are also several things you can do yourself to reduce your hay fever symptoms. For example:

  • Make sure you keep windows and doors closed as much as possible during the pollen season. This will prevent the pollen from entering your home.
  • Avoid outdoor activities when pollen counts are high.
  • Stay indoors during warm weather when the wind is present, as the wind disperses the pollen faster, and you may experience more hay fever symptoms.
  • Make sure you do not leave the clothes you have worn outside in the bedroom. Pollen can attach itself to your clothes.
  • Use special filters for the vacuum cleaner that ensure that the extra fine dust particles remain in the vacuum cleaner bag.
  • Use a special pollen filter in the car. Make sure you have the pollen filter replaced every two years.
  • Make sure you are aware of the hay fever forecast in your area. If there is a lot of pollen in the air, you can use antihistamines preventively or stay indoors if necessary.

When Should You See A Doctor?

If you think you have hay fever and the various methods do not help (enough), you can make an appointment with the family doctor.

The doctor will refer you to an allergist if:

  • Your medicines do not help sufficiently with your symptoms.
  • You suffer from the side effects of medication.
  • You suffer from fatigue.
  • You suffer from asthmatic complaints.
  • You have a food allergy in addition to hay fever.

Adam Hari

This is my profile, I seek to provide helpful content on several areas, especially health and fitness.

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