What is hay fever vs allergies

If you are love most people, you hate the thought of walking into a crowded waiting room at the doctor’s office – and facing a endless wait before the doctor or nurse practitioner can see you. After every, your time is just as valuable as theirs. Maybe that’s why thousands of patients own chosen Allergic & Asthmatic Comprehensive Care of New Jersey (AACCNJ).

At AACCNJ, our medical director, Eric S. Applebaum, MD, schedules and sees one patient at a time. That’s how he has done it for over 20 years.

Dr. Applebaum strives to be on time for your scheduled appointment as he also understands the worth of your time.

It’s not unusual for Dr. Applebaum to spend a full hour with each patient, answering their questions, explaining treatment options and simply getting to know them as individuals. He believes that’s the best way to accurately diagnose their conditions and assist them overcome the limitations their allergies and asthma put upon them.

Dr.

Applebaum provides comprehensive care for the full spectrum of allergy and asthma conditions and symptoms, including:
• Food allergies • Seasonal allergies • Pollen allergy • Atopic dermatitis • Eczema • Skin rash • Hives
• Allergic rhinitis (hay fever) • Chronic sinusitis • Nasal congestion • Asthma • Coughing • Wheezing

AACCNJ serves the Mountain Lakes and Parsippany Troy Hills communities of Parsippany, Denville, Montville (Morris County, NJ), Passaic (Passaic County, NJ).

Discover today’s most effective allergy and asthma treatment.

What is hay fever vs allergies

Believe Eric S. Applebaum, MD, for comprehensive allergy, asthma and immunology care and advanced solutions. Call us at in Parsippany or use our online Request an Appointment form to schedule your consultation.

Caring for one patient at a time

If you are love most people, you hate the thought of walking into a crowded waiting room at the doctor’s office – and facing a endless wait before the doctor or nurse practitioner can see you. After every, your time is just as valuable as theirs. Maybe that’s why thousands of patients own chosen Allergic & Asthmatic Comprehensive Care of New Jersey (AACCNJ).

At AACCNJ, our medical director, Eric S.

Applebaum, MD, schedules and sees one patient at a time. That’s how he has done it for over 20 years. Dr. Applebaum strives to be on time for your scheduled appointment as he also understands the worth of your time.

It’s not unusual for Dr. Applebaum to spend a full hour with each patient, answering their questions, explaining treatment options and simply getting to know them as individuals. He believes that’s the best way to accurately diagnose their conditions and assist them overcome the limitations their allergies and asthma put upon them.

Dr.

Applebaum provides comprehensive care for the full spectrum of allergy and asthma conditions and symptoms, including:
• Food allergies • Seasonal allergies • Pollen allergy • Atopic dermatitis • Eczema • Skin rash • Hives
• Allergic rhinitis (hay fever) • Chronic sinusitis • Nasal congestion • Asthma • Coughing • Wheezing

AACCNJ serves the Mountain Lakes and Parsippany Troy Hills communities of Parsippany, Denville, Montville (Morris County, NJ), Passaic (Passaic County, NJ).

Discover today’s most effective allergy and asthma treatment.

Believe Eric S. Applebaum, MD, for comprehensive allergy, asthma and immunology care and advanced solutions. Call us at in Parsippany or use our online Request an Appointment form to schedule your consultation.

Aetiology

Type I hypersensitivity reaction to specific airborne allergens.
Conjunctival mast cell degranulation liberates histamine and other inflammatory mediators into the tissues and tear film, causing dilatation of conjunctival vessels (→red eye), increased permeability of blood vessels (→oedema), itch
Seasonal allergic conjunctivitis (hay fever conjunctivitis) (SAC)

  1. caused by seasonal allergens, especially grass pollen
  2. onset of symptoms associated with seasonal production of allergens, e.g.

    tree pollen: spring; grasses: early summer; weeds and fungal spores: tardy summer

  3. condition notsight-threatening, but may be damaging to quality of life and associated with a significant economic burden

Perennial allergic conjunctivitis (PAC)

  1. caused by non-seasonal allergens such as home dust mite or animal dander
  2. symptoms throughout the year; may be seasonal exacerbations
  3. less common and generally less severe than seasonal type

Predisposing factors

Atopic disposition (40% of population of which only around half manifest allergic disease)
Personal history of allergic disease (hay fever, asthma, eczema, food or drug allergy)
Family history of allergic disease
Exposure to allergens

Possible management by ophthalmologist

(Not normally referred)

Management by optometrist

Practitioners should recognise their limitations and where necessary seek further advice or refer the patient elsewhere

Non pharmacological

Identify allergen(s)
Advise avoidance of allergen(s)
Cool compresses for symptomatic relief
Advise against eye rubbing (causes mechanical mast cell degranulation)
(GRADE*: Level of evidence=low, Strength of recommendation=strong)

Pharmacological

Ocular lubricants for symptomatic relief
(GRADE*: Level of evidence=low, Strength of recommendation=strong)

Various topical treatment options are available but there is insufficientevidence to recommend the use of one type of medication over another; however the choice of drug may be sure bycompliance, cost, and availability of preservative-free formulation (if required).

The twice daily dosing regime of dual-action antihistamines may be beneficial in contact lens wearers and in school-age children.

Systemic antihistamine (e.g. tabs cetirizine or loratadine once daily)

  1. effective also for other symptoms of hay fever, e.g. allergic rhinitis
  2. Davey G, Sedgwick P, Maier W, Visick G, Strachan DP and Anderson HR. Association between migraine and asthma: matched case-control study. Br J Gen Pract. ;
  3. de Souza Carvalho D, Fragoso YD, Coelho FM and Pereira MM.

    Asthma plus migraine in childhood and adolescence: prophylactic benefits with leukotriene receptor antagonist. Headache. ;

  4. Bernstein JA, Davis BP, Picard JK, Cooper JP, Zheng S and Levin LS. A randomized, double-blind, parallel trial comparing capsaicin nasal spray with placebo in subjects with a significant component of nonallergic rhinitis. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. ;
  5. Martin VT, Fanning KM, Serrano D, et al. Chronic rhinitis and its association with headache frequency and disability in persons with migraine: results of the American Migraine Prevalence and Prevention (AMPP) Study. Cephalalgia. ;
  6. Fernandez-de-Las-Penas C, Hernandez-Barrera V, Carrasco-Garrido P, et al.

    Population-based study of migraine in Spanish adults: relation to socio-demographic factors, lifestyle and co-morbidity with other conditions. J Headache Pain. ;

  7. Aaseth K, Grande RB, Kvaerner K, Lundqvist C and Russell MB. Chronic rhinosinusitis gives a ninefold increased risk of chronic headache. The Akershus study of chronic headache. Cephalalgia. ;
  8. Sheftell F, Rapoport A, Weeks R, Walker B, Gammerman I and Baskin S.

    Montelukast in the prophylaxis of migraine: a potential role for leukotriene modifiers. Headache. ;

  9. Aamodt AH, Stovner LJ, Langhammer A, Hagen K and Zwart JA. Is headache related to asthma, hay fever, and chronic bronchitis? The Head-HUNT Study. Headache. ;
  10. Martin VT, Fanning KM, Serrano D, Buse DC, Reed ML and Lipton RB. Asthma is a risk factor for new onset chronic migraine: Results from the American migraine prevalence and prevention study. Headache. ;
  11. Ku M, Silverman B, Prifti N, Ying W, Persaud Y and Schneider A.

    Prevalence of migraine headaches in patients with allergic rhinitis. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. ;

  12. Brandes JL, Visser WH, Farmer MV, et al. Montelukast for migraine prophylaxis: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Headache. ;
  13. Ratner PH, Howland WC, 3rd, Jacobs RL, et al. Relief of sinus pain and pressure with fluticasone propionate aqueous nasal spray: a placebo-controlled trial in patients with allergic rhinitis.

    Allergy Asthma Proc. ;

  14. Lateef T, Swanson S, Cui L, Nelson K, Nakamura E and Merikangas K. Headaches and sleep problems among adults in the United States: findings from the National Comorbidity Survey-Replication study. Cephalalgia. ;
  15. Martin VT, Taylor F, Gebhardt B, et al. Allergy and immunotherapy: are they related to migraine headache? Headache. ;

(GRADE*: Level of evidence=high, Strength of recommendation=strong)

Signs

Lids:mild to moderate oedema (peri-orbital oedema in severe cases)
Bulbar and tarsal conjunctiva: chemosis (oedema), hyperaemia and diffuse papillary reaction
Cornea:uninvolved

Symptoms

Red eye
Itching of eye (main symptom)
Watering of eye
May be associated with sneezing and watery nasal discharge
SAC: symptoms seasonal with climatic variations
PAC: symptoms perennial but variable; seasonal exacerbations may occur

Management category

B2: alleviation or palliation; normally no referral
B1: if conventional therapy fails, consider referral to Clinical Immunologist for consideration of sub-lingual or other form of immunotherapy

Differential diagnosis

Vernal or Atopic Keratoconjunctivitis (cornea generally involved)
Other allergic conjunctivitis

Evidence base

*GRADE: Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation()

Sources of evidence

Bilkhu PS, Wolffsohn JS, Naroo SA, Robertson L, Kennedy R.

Effectiveness of nonpharmacologic treatments for acute seasonal allergic conjunctivitis. Ophthalmology ;(1)

Calderon MA, Penagos M, Sheikh A, Canonica GW, Durham SR: Sublingual immunotherapy for allergic conjunctivitis: Cochrane systematic review and meta-analysis. Clin Exp Allergy ;

Castillo M, Scott NW, Mustafa MZ, Mustafa MS, Azuara-Blanco A. Topical antihistamines and mast cell stabilisers for treating seasonal and perennial allergic conjunctivitis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev;6:CD

del Cuvillo A, Sastre J, Montoro J, Jáuregui I, Dávila I, Ferrer M, Bartra J, Mullol J, Valero A.

Allergic Conjunctivitis and H1 Antihistamines. J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol. ;19,Suppl

La Rosa M, Lionetti E, Reibaldi M, Russo A, Longo A, Leonardi S, Tomarchio S, Avitabile T, Reibaldi A. Allergic conjunctivitis: a comprehensive review of the literature. Ital J Pediatr. ;

Patel DS, Arunakirinathan M, Stuart A, Angunawela R.

What is hay fever vs allergies

Allergic eye disease. BMJ. ;j

Pitt AD, Smith AF, Lindsell L, Voon LW, Rose PW, Bron AJ. Economic and quality-of-life impact of seasonal allergic conjunctivitis in Oxfordshire. Ophthalmic Epidemiol. ;11/

Roberts G, Pfaar O, Akdis CA, Ansotegui IJ, Durham SR, Gerth van Wijk R et al. European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) Guidelines on Allergen Immunotherapy: Allergic Rhinoconjunctivitis. Allergy. ;73(4)

Lay summary

Seasonal Allergic Conjunctivitis (SAC) is the eye component of hay fever and one of the most common eye problems, affecting about one fifth of adults.

It is caused when a substance called an allergen reaches the eye surface and sets off an allergic reaction. Allergens are generally airborne. Grass pollen is the most common of these and is at its most concentrated in June and July. Theallergic reaction releases histamine into the tears and the surface tissues of the eye, causing redness and swelling of the conjunctiva (the membrane covering the white of the eye), watering and itching.

People with SAC often own allergic symptoms affecting the nose, throat and sinuses, and they may own asthma, eczema and food or drug allergy also. SAC can be unpleasant and cause people to lose work or school days, but it does not damage the sight. It can be treated with anti-allergy drops or antihistamines in eye drop form. Antihistamine tablets can also be helpful, and will generally control hay fever also.

Perennial Allergic Conjunctivitis (PAC) is rarer than SAC but produces similar symptoms.

What is hay fever vs allergies

The main difference is that it is a reaction to a year-round allergen, such as home dust mite. Its treatment is similar.

Conjunctivitis (Seasonal and Perennial Allergic)
Version 13
Date of search
Date of revision
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© College of Optometrists

View more Clinical Management Guidelines

Author: Vincent T. Martin, MD, Co-director of the Headache & Facial Pain Middle at the University of Cincinnati

Spring is a welcomed change in seasons, especially for people who endure frigid winters and copious snowfall.

But for the percentage of people living with migraine who also experience allergies, asthma or hay fever, it’s a time of year when headaches tend to increase and are accompanied by the symptoms of seasonal allergies.

Here’s what we know about the connection between migraine, hay fever, asthma, allergies, and the treatment options currently being used to manage them.

What is hay fever and how is it diagnosed?

The medical term for hay fever is allergic rhinitis. Allergic rhinitis occurs when a patient develops symptoms of runny nose, post nasal drip and nasal congestion upon exposure to an allergen.

An allergen is something in the environment to which you are allergic such as tree pollen, mold, cat hair, dog hair or dust. To firmly establish the diagnosis of allergic rhinitis, one must own the above mentioned symptoms upon exposure to the allergen and also own a positive allergy test to that allergen. Allergy testing can take one of two forms: skin prick testing and blood tests. With skin prick testing, an allergist puts minute quantities of allergen on the tip of a needle and then he/she pricks your skin with the needle.

A positive response requires that a certain degree of redness and swelling of the skin occurs in the region of the skin prick. In addition, blood tests can be performed to identify an allergen.

What is asthma and how is it diagnosed?

Asthma is a disease in which your airways constrict intermittently and you become short of breath. Its diagnosis can be established by pulmonary function testing, a specialized lung test in which you blow into a tube and a technician will record the volume of air that is exhaled before and after receiving inhaled asthma medications that dilate a person’s airways.

Persons with asthma will own a reduced volume of exhaled air before the asthma medication, and normal amounts of exhaled air after the asthma medication. The “reversibility” of airway constriction before and after istration of asthma medications is necessary to firmly establish a diagnosis of asthma.

How are allergies related to asthma?

Approximately 70% of persons with asthma own one or more allergies found in allergy testing.

What is hay fever vs allergies

Allergies do not cause asthma, but represent an significant trigger factor for attacks of asthma. Exposure to allergens creates inflammation in your lungs that can increase constriction of the airways.

What causes allergies and asthma?

The cause of allergies and asthma is “in part” genetic and “in part” environmental. A genetic predisposition to allergies and asthma is often passed from one generation to another. However, environmental factors are also significant. In the past it was thought that “over exposure” to allergens might predispose to development of these disorders, but recent studies own demonstrated that “under exposure” to allergens during childhood might lead to more allergies.

This is called the “hygiene” theory of allergies.

Are hay fever and asthma related to migraine?

Numerous studies own found that migraine is more common in those with hay fever and asthma. One study found that migraine occurred in 34% of persons with hay fever (allergic rhinitis) as compared to 4% of those without this disorder.1 Asthma is times more prevalent in those with migraine than in those without it.

If one has migraines and hay fever or asthma, then the frequency of migraine attacks are increased.

Headache attacks were % more frequent in those with migraine and hay fever than in those with migraine alone.6 Persons with episodic migraine (less than 15 days per month with headache) and asthma are times more likely to develop chronic migraine (greater than 15 days per month with headache) one year later than those with episodic migraine alone.7

Where is the location of headaches that are related to hay fever or sinus disease?

We don’t know the specific location of headaches related to hay fever, but one study did describe the location of headaches in those with chronic rhinosinusitis, which is a endless standing infection of the sinuses.8 The headaches were located in the regions of the sinuses including the forehead, between and around the eyes and cheekbones.

The headaches had a mild to moderate intensity, were generally located on both sides of the head and resembled tension-type headaches.

How might hay fever and asthma predispose to migraine?

There are numerous ways that these disorders could increase the frequency of migraine attacks. First, increased inflammation caused by these disorders might increase migraine. Second, nasal congestion caused by hay fever could directly activate the trigeminal nerve in the nose and trigger migraine. Also, it might cause snoring that could lead to sleep apnea that could precipitate headaches. Third, use of asthma medications such as albuterol might trigger attacks of migraine.

Fourth, both hay fever and asthma activate nerves in the parasympathetic nervous system. It is possible that activation of these nerves increases migraine frequency.

Can hay fever medications assist your migraine?

We really don’t know the answer to this question because there own been no studies of these therapies in persons with migraine. However, there own been studies in persons with rhinitis to determine if sinus pain and/or headache improve with these therapies. One study found that steroid nasal sprays decrease the severity of sinus pain in persons with hay fever.9 Another found that capsaicin nasal spray (a substance found in boiling chili peppers) decreased the severity of headache in those with non-allergic rhinitis, which is a form of rhinitis triggered by non- allergic triggers (perfumes, cigarette smoke).10

Montelukast is an oral therapy used to treat asthma and allergic rhinitis.

Uncontrolled studies suggested that it was effective in the treatment of migraine.11,12 However, a randomized controlled trial found it to be ineffective as a preventative therapy for migraine.13 This study was conducted in migraine patients irrespective of whether they had allergies or not. It is unknown if the results would own differed if it had been conducted in those with migraine and allergies.

We performed a study in younger persons with migraine and found that the istration of allergy shots were associated with 52% reduction in the frequency of migraines as compared to those that did not get allergy shots.14 However, this study did not randomize patients to allergy shots or placebo, and therefore these results will need to be confirmed in future studies before definitive conclusions can be reached about this therapy.

What is our clinical approach to the migraine patient with allergies, hay fever or asthma?

It is extremely common for patients to own both migraine and symptoms of rhinitis. In fact, one study found that 67% of every persons with migraine had symptoms of rhinitis (nasal congestion, runny nose, post nasal drip, itchy nose).6 If patients with migraine also own rhinitis symptoms, we treat them with medications to treat this disorder, which include nasal steroids and oral/nasal antihistamines.

This may assist the rhinitis symptoms as well as any sinus pain/pressure they may be experiencing, but it is unknown if these therapies will decrease the frequency of migraine headache.

Allergy shots are an significant therapy to reduce the frequency of allergy symptoms. We do not specifically recommend allergy shots for persons with migraine who own allergies, but we do tell our patients that uncontrolled studies propose that allergy shots may be associated with a reduced frequency of migraine in individuals less than 45 years of age.

Ultimately, the decision to start allergy shots is made between the allergist and patient weighing the risks, benefits and costs of this therapy.

If you own questions about your migraine or migraine symptoms, contact the American Migraine Foundation so we can assist join you with a doctor in your area.

References

  • Ku M, Silverman B, Prifti N, Ying W, Persaud Y and Schneider A. Prevalence of migraine headaches in patients with allergic rhinitis. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. ;
  • Davey G, Sedgwick P, Maier W, Visick G, Strachan DP and Anderson HR. Association between migraine and asthma: matched case-control study.

    Br J Gen Pract. ;

  • Brandes JL, Visser WH, Farmer MV, et al. Montelukast for migraine prophylaxis: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Headache. ;
  • Bernstein JA, Davis BP, Picard JK, Cooper JP, Zheng S and Levin LS. A randomized, double-blind, parallel trial comparing capsaicin nasal spray with placebo in subjects with a significant component of nonallergic rhinitis. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. ;
  • Martin VT, Fanning KM, Serrano D, Buse DC, Reed ML and Lipton RB. Asthma is a risk factor for new onset chronic migraine: Results from the American migraine prevalence and prevention study.

    What is hay fever vs allergies

    Headache. ;

  • Lateef T, Swanson S, Cui L, Nelson K, Nakamura E and Merikangas K. Headaches and sleep problems among adults in the United States: findings from the National Comorbidity Survey-Replication study. Cephalalgia. ;
  • Aaseth K, Grande RB, Kvaerner K, Lundqvist C and Russell MB. Chronic rhinosinusitis gives a ninefold increased risk of chronic headache. The Akershus study of chronic headache.

    Cephalalgia. ;

  • Sheftell F, Rapoport A, Weeks R, Walker B, Gammerman I and Baskin S. Montelukast in the prophylaxis of migraine: a potential role for leukotriene modifiers. Headache. ;
  • Martin VT, Fanning KM, Serrano D, et al. Chronic rhinitis and its association with headache frequency and disability in persons with migraine: results of the American Migraine Prevalence and Prevention (AMPP) Study. Cephalalgia. ;
  • Ratner PH, Howland WC, 3rd, Jacobs RL, et al. Relief of sinus pain and pressure with fluticasone propionate aqueous nasal spray: a placebo-controlled trial in patients with allergic rhinitis.

    Allergy Asthma Proc. ;

  • Fernandez-de-Las-Penas C, Hernandez-Barrera V, Carrasco-Garrido P, et al. Population-based study of migraine in Spanish adults: relation to socio-demographic factors, lifestyle and co-morbidity with other conditions. J Headache Pain. ;
  • de Souza Carvalho D, Fragoso YD, Coelho FM and Pereira MM. Asthma plus migraine in childhood and adolescence: prophylactic benefits with leukotriene receptor antagonist. Headache. ;
  • Aamodt AH, Stovner LJ, Langhammer A, Hagen K and Zwart JA. Is headache related to asthma, hay fever, and chronic bronchitis? The Head-HUNT Study. Headache. ;
  • Martin VT, Taylor F, Gebhardt B, et al.

    Allergy and immunotherapy: are they related to migraine headache? Headache. ;

Itchy eyes, a congested nose, sneezing, wheezing and hives: these are symptoms of an allergic reaction caused when plants release pollen into the air, generally in the spring or drop. Numerous people use hay fever as a colloquial term for these seasonal allergies and the inflammation of the nose and airways.

But hay fever is a misnomer, said Dr. Jordan Josephson, an ear, nose and throat doctor and sinus specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

«It is not an allergy to hay,» Josephson, author of the book «Sinus Relief Now» (Perigee Trade, ), told Live Science.

«Rather, it is an allergy to weeds that pollinate.»

Doctors and researchers prefer the phrase allergic rhinitis to describe the condition. More than 50 million people experience some type of allergy each year, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. In , % of adults and % of children reported own allergic rhinitis symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Worldwide, between 10 and 30% of people are affected by allergic rhinitis, Josephson said.

In , spring arrived early in some parts of the country and later in others, according to the National Phenology Network (NPN).

Spring brings blooming plants and, for some, lots of sneezing, itchy, watery eyes and runny noses. According to NPN data, spring reared its head about two weeks early in areas of California, Nevada and numerous of the Southern and Southeastern states. Much of California, for example, is preparing for a brutal allergy season due to the large quantity of winter rain. On the other hand, spring ranged from about one to two weeks tardy in the Northwest, the Midwest and the Mid-Atlantic U.S. [Watch a Massive ‘Pollen Cloud’ Explode from Late-Blooming Tree]

Itchy eyes, a congested nose, sneezing, wheezing and hives: these are symptoms of an allergic reaction caused when plants release pollen into the air, generally in the spring or drop.

Numerous people use hay fever as a colloquial term for these seasonal allergies and the inflammation of the nose and airways.

But hay fever is a misnomer, said Dr. Jordan Josephson, an ear, nose and throat doctor and sinus specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

«It is not an allergy to hay,» Josephson, author of the book «Sinus Relief Now» (Perigee Trade, ), told Live Science. «Rather, it is an allergy to weeds that pollinate.»

Doctors and researchers prefer the phrase allergic rhinitis to describe the condition.

More than 50 million people experience some type of allergy each year, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. In , % of adults and % of children reported own allergic rhinitis symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Worldwide, between 10 and 30% of people are affected by allergic rhinitis, Josephson said.

In , spring arrived early in some parts of the country and later in others, according to the National Phenology Network (NPN). Spring brings blooming plants and, for some, lots of sneezing, itchy, watery eyes and runny noses. According to NPN data, spring reared its head about two weeks early in areas of California, Nevada and numerous of the Southern and Southeastern states.

Much of California, for example, is preparing for a brutal allergy season due to the large quantity of winter rain. On the other hand, spring ranged from about one to two weeks tardy in the Northwest, the Midwest and the Mid-Atlantic U.S. [Watch a Massive ‘Pollen Cloud’ Explode from Late-Blooming Tree]


Symptoms

The symptoms of allergic rhinitis may at first feel love those of a freezing.

But unlike a freezing that may incubate before causing discomfort, symptoms of allergies generally appear almost as soon as a person encounters an allergen, such as pollen or mold.

Symptoms include itchy eyes, ears, nose or throat, sneezing, irritability, nasal congestion and hoarseness. People may also experience cough, postnasal drip, sinus pressure or headaches, decreased sense of smell, snoring, sleep apnea, fatigue and asthma, Josephson said.

[Oral Allergy Syndrome: 6 Ways to Avoid an Itchy, Tingling Mouth]

Many of these symptoms are the immune system’s overreaction as it attempts to protect the vital and sensitive respiratory system from exterior invaders. The antibodies produced by the body hold the foreign invaders out, but also cause the symptoms characteristic of allergic responses.

People can develop hay fever at any age, but most people are diagnosed with the disorder in childhood or early adulthood, according to the Mayo Clinic. Symptoms typically become less severe as people age.

Often, children may first experience food allergies and eczema, or itchy skin, before developing hay fever, Josephson said.

«This then worsens over the years, and patients then develop allergies to indoor allergens love dust and animals, or seasonal rhinitis, love ragweed, grass pollen, molds and tree pollen.»

Hay fever can also lead to other medical conditions. People who are allergic to weeds are more likely to get other allergies and develop asthma as they age, Josephson said. But those who get immunotherapy, such as allergy shots that assist people’s bodies get used to allergens, are less likely to develop asthma, he said.


Hay fever treatments

Dr. Sarita Patil, an allergist with Massachusetts General Hospital’s Allergy Associates in Boston, talked to Live Science about strategies for outdoor lovers with seasonal allergies.

Patil suggested figuring out exactly what type of pollen you’re allergic to, and then avoiding planning outdoor activities during peak pollinating times in the months when those plants are in bloom.

Numerous grasses, for example, typically pollinate in tardy spring and early summer and release most of their spores in the afternoon and early evening.

Her other strategies: Be capable to identify the pollen perpetrator by sight; monitor pollen counts before scheduling outdoor time; go exterior at a time of day when the plants that make you go achoo are not pollinating; and wear protective gear love sunglasses, among other tips.

[7 Strategies for Outdoor Lovers with Seasonal Allergies]

Allergy sufferers may also select to combat symptoms with medication designed to shut below or trick the immune sensitivity in the body. Whether over-the-counter or prescription, most allergy pills work by releasing chemicals into the body that bind naturally to histamine — the protein that reacts to the allergen and causes an immune response — negating the protein’s effect.

Other allergy remedies attack the symptoms at the source. Nasal sprays contain athletic ingredients that decongest by soothing irritated blood vessels in the nose, while eye drops both moisturize and reduce inflammation.

Doctors may also prescribe allergy shots, Josephson said.

For kids, allergy medications are tricky. A nationally representative poll of parents with kids between ages 6 and 12 found that 21% of parents said they had trouble figuring out the correct dose of allergy meds for their child; 15% of parents gave a kid an adult form of the allergy medicine, and 33% of these parents also gave their kid the adult dose of that medicine.

Doctors may also recommend allergy shots, a neti pot that can rinse the sinuses, or a Grossan Hydropulse — an irrigating system that cleans the nose of pollens, infection and environmental irritants, Josephson said.

Alternative and holistic options, along with acupuncture, may also assist people with hay fever, Josephson said.

People can also avoid pollen by keeping their windows closed in the spring, and by using air purifiers and air conditioners at home.

Probiotics may also be helpful in stopping those itchy eyes and runny noses. A review published in the journal International Forum of Allergy and Rhinology found that people who suffer from hay fever may benefit from using probiotics, or «good bacteria,» thought to promote a healthy gut. Although the jury is still out on whether probiotics are an effective treatment for seasonal allergies, the researchers noted that these gut bacteria could hold the body’s immune system from flaring up in response to allergens — something that could reduce allergy symptoms.

[5 Myths About Probiotics]

Additional resources:

This article was updated on April 30, , by Live Science Contributor Rachel Ross.


Tests & diagnosis

A physician will consider patient history and act out a thorough physical examination if a person reports having hay-fever-like symptoms. If necessary, the physician will do an allergy test. According to the Mayo Clinic, people can get a skin-prick test, in which doctors prick the skin on a person’s arm or upper back with diverse substances to see if any cause an allergic reaction, such as a raised bump called a hive.

[7 Strange Signs You’re Having an Allergic Reaction]

Blood tests for allergies are also available. This test rates the immune system’s response to a specific allergen by measuring the quantity of allergy-causing antibodies in the bloodstream, according to the Mayo Clinic.


Pollen count

How do scientists know how much pollen is in the air? They set a trap. The trap — generally a glass plate or rod coated with adhesive — is analyzed every few hours, and the number of particles collected is then averaged to reflect the particles that would pass through the area in any hour period.

That measurement is converted to pollen per cubic meter. Mold counts work much the same way.

A pollen count is an imprecise measurement, scientists confess, and an arduous one — at the analysis stage, pollen grains are counted one by one under a microscope. It is also highly time-consuming to discern between types of pollen, so they are generally bundled into one variable. Given the imprecise nature of the measurement, entire daily pollen counts are often reported simply as low, moderate or high.

The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology provides up-to-date pollen counts for U.S. states.


Common allergens

The most common allergen is pollen, a powder released by trees, grasses and weeds that fertilize the seeds of neighboring plants.

As plants rely on the wind to do the work for them, the pollination season sees billions of microscopic particles fill the air, and some of them finish up in people’s noses and mouths.

Spring bloomers include ash, birch, cedar, elm and maple trees, plus numerous species of grass. Weeds pollinate in the tardy summer and drop, with ragweed being the most volatile.

The pollen that sits on brightly colored flowers is rarely responsible for hay fever because it is heavier and falls to the ground rather than becoming airborne.

Bees and other insects carry flower pollen from one flower to the next without ever bothering human noses.

Mold allergies are diverse. Mold is a spore that grows on rotting logs, dead leaves and grasses. While dry-weather mold species exist, numerous types of mold thrive in moist, rainy conditions, and release their spores overnight. During both the spring and drop allergy seasons, pollen is released mainly in the morning hours and travels best on dry, warm and breezy days.


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