Hay fever or pollen allergy is an allergy to pollen and pollen. Hay fever is particularly common in spring. Typical symptoms are watery eyes, burning eyes, sneezing and a runny nose.
Causes of hay fever
The cause of hay fever or pollen allergy is found in an allergic reaction triggered by pollen and pollen. If the pollen comes into contact with the mucous membranes, such as the eyes and nose, an overreaction of the immune system is triggered. In particular, the defense substance or antibodies that are then formed then very quickly release inflammatory messengers (histamines).
This is usually followed by an enlargement of the blood vessels and a narrowing of the airways, especially the bronchi. As a result, other defense cells are lured by the histamines, which can then cause eye inflammation, tearing, burning eyes, itching eyes or conjunctivitis in the eyes.
Likewise, an urge to sneeze, sneezing fits, itchy nose, runny nose, blocked nose or dry nasal mucosa are often triggered by the overreaction of the immune system.
According to abbreviationfinder.org, the following pollen or flowering plants are most responsible for hay fever: rye, birch, alder, hazelnut bushes and various herbs such as mugwort. But various foods can also trigger hay fever: hazelnuts, apples, walnuts, potatoes, dill, celery, carrots, peanuts, kiwi and sometimes cherries.
Symptoms, Ailments & Signs
Hay fever is characterized by itching and burning or watery eyes. The eyes swell shortly after contact with the allergen and are sensitive to touch and other stimuli. Conjunctivitis is also common. In addition, hay fever causes itching in the nose or in the nasopharynx.
The nose is blocked or sore and the characteristic runny nose and frequent sneezing attacks occur. Patients often also feel tired and exhausted. The typical “heavy head” is accompanied by poor well-being and the well-known symptoms of fever. The symptoms increase as the disease progresses before disappearing again after a few days to weeks.
Hay fever has similar symptoms in children. Affected children sniffle constantly, complain of an itchy nose and breathe through their mouths noticeably often. Excessively loud snoring occurs at night. Speech is nasal and slurred due to nasal congestion. Affected children also complain of severe thirst in the morning. Typically, the eyes are sticky and the nose is stuffed up. Parents who notice such symptoms should take their child to the pediatrician immediately.
course of the disease
The course of hay fever or pollen allergy often begins in early life. Children and young people in particular suffer statistically more frequently from hay fever than adults.
Furthermore, hay fever can occur or last a lifetime. Nevertheless, one can alleviate and contain the hyposensitization with its occurring symptoms.
If hay fever is not treated, the allergic reactions can cause massive symptoms. Conjunctivitis or asthma can then occur, which would not have occurred with treatment in the first place.
The older the affected person gets, the more stable his hay fever becomes and the symptoms remain less intense.
Hay fever is an allergy that is associated with various complications. However, anyone who leaves hay fever without any treatment must of course also expect various complications. Most people suffer from a stuffy nose, watery eyes and long-lasting headaches.
Without any treatment, those affected must accordingly expect a significant worsening of the individual symptoms. The following therefore applies: Hay fever can be relieved quickly with the right medication. However, it is not possible to permanently eliminate the symptoms that occur. Nevertheless, a doctor should be consulted if you have hay fever.
This is the only way to avoid possible complications or to identify and treat them early. If this is not done, it can even lead to significant sleep disorders in particularly bad cases. The nose becomes clogged with mucus, so that the affected person’s quality of life is immensely restricted.
When should you go to the doctor?
A doctor should be consulted if the sufferer sneezes frequently or experiences sudden sneezing attacks. If you have a persistent cold, a runny nose or a permanent tingling in your nose, we recommend that you see a doctor for a check-up. A noticeable cough, scratchy throat or persistent tiredness despite adequate sleep at night should also be clarified. Tears, itching or burning eyes should be consulted by a doctor. In the case of redness or open wounds on the eyelids, a doctor must be consulted. There is a risk of other diseases.
If conjunctivitis develops, a doctor should be consulted immediately. Redness, swelling or a rash on the skin should be examined and treated. A doctor’s visit is necessary if you feel exhausted, lose your general level of performance or feel weak. If the person concerned suffers from insomnia, a lack of concentration or impaired attention, a medical examination is necessary. If a loss of smell or taste is noticed, the observations should be discussed with a doctor. Disorders of breathing, hoarseness or a pressure in the chest must be presented to a doctor. If the symptoms persist for several weeks, if they increase in intensity or if they occur repeatedly, a doctor’s visit is necessary.
Treatment & Therapy
If you suspect hay fever, you should see a doctor. Above all, the annoying accompanying symptoms can be medically alleviated or reduced. The doctor will do an allergy test and determine which pollen, food or plants the affected person is allergic to.
Therapy should now try to minimize or completely stop contact with the triggering pollen. However, this is not always possible. Nevertheless, it is advisable to seek medical advice on what can be done in this regard.
It is also possible to carry out desensitization or hyposensitization using specific immunotherapy. In this immunotherapy, the doctor injects allergens under the skin. The aim is to adapt the immune system to these substances and stimuli so that strong allergic stimuli no longer occur. This therapy generally lasts up to three years.
Alternatively, this method can also be administered in the form of drops or tablets with pollen solution. The allergens are administered in drop form under the tongue. However, both methods can have harmless side effects such as swelling, itching and reddening of the skin.
An existing hay fever is usually caused by an allergy, so that follow-up care is not absolutely necessary. Affected people often suffer from an existing hay fever since birth. Hay fever and its symptoms can be effectively curbed by taking over-the-counter medicines.
The nose stops running and the eyes don’t even start to swell. The course is different if the person concerned decides not to take such medication at all. In such a case, the symptoms of a common hay fever will increase considerably.
In the spring in particular, a strong aggravation of the symptoms that occur is to be expected. Meadows and fields should be avoided, especially in spring. Otherwise, the typical symptoms of hay fever appear. However, a visit to the doctor is always advisable, because with appropriate aftercare, the symptoms that occur can be significantly alleviated.
Nasal rinses, for example, are a sensible and effective measure that the affected person can take themselves as aftercare. Unfortunately, there is currently no cure by taking a specific drug once.
Outlook & Forecast
Patients with hay fever are subject to a chronic disease. It becomes a lifelong disability and requires ongoing treatment to alleviate the symptoms. With early treatment, most complications can be avoided.
The risk of developing further allergies is significantly increased in those affected. In many cases, there is an allergic reaction to other substances such as pollen or food. Hay fever is vulnerable to the development of allergic asthma. It is estimated that 30-40% of patients develop allergic asthma as the disease progresses.
With medical care, the symptoms of hay fever can be treated well and contained. The respiratory tract is adequately protected and can counteract another disease. In addition to the conventional medical options, those affected can achieve an improvement in their symptoms by using natural healing methods. For an optimal prognosis, the restructuring of the general lifestyle contributes to a large extent. The respiratory tract should not be additionally burdened and stress or bad environmental influences should be avoided.
If no treatment is sought, there is usually a steady increase in symptoms. The intensity of the existing symptoms increases and the shortness of breath increases. By observing the pollen forecast, the patient can avoid severe stressful situations in good time.
You can do that yourself
Hay fever sufferers can take a number of measures to alleviate their suffering. This is especially true during the pollen season.
One of the most important self-help options is consistent allergen avoidance. This means that the allergy sufferer avoids prolonged exposure to the outdoors as much as possible while the pollen is in flight. An exception is the period after a downpour or thunderstorm. The air is free of pollen during this period. Closing the windows is also recommended when driving. Purchasing a pollen filter is also helpful because the ventilation system retains most of the pollen.
Proper ventilation of the home is recommended. The main flight times of the pollen must be observed. In the countryside, for example, the pollen is already flying between five and six in the morning and in the city in the morning. The best time to ventilate is therefore 7 p.m. to midnight and in the city between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. If the pollen allergy sufferer wants to do sports outdoors, they should also do so at these times.
To keep as little pollen as possible from getting into the bedroom, it is advisable to wash your hair just before going to bed. Clothing worn during the day should be stored outside the bedroom. Cut flowers and plants in the home are taboo for allergy sufferers.
Another sensible self-help method is to use nasal rinses with salt solutions such as Emser Salz. It is important to match the saline solution to the condition of the nasal mucosa.