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Hay Fever

What is Hay Fever?

Hay fever is a seasonal allergy causing inflammation of the mucous membranes of the nose and eyes. Hay Fever is also called "seasonal allergic rhinitis" or "pollinosis." There are about 26.1 million Americans have hay fever symptoms each year. About 14.6 million Americans have asthma, which sometimes accompanies hay fever.

During the seasons when plants are pollinating, there is a large amount of pollen in the air. People breath in the pollen and have an allegeric reaction to it.

Symptoms of Hay Fever

Some of the symptoms of hay fever are: repeated and prolonged sneezing; a stuffy and watery nose; redness, swelling and itching of the eyes; itching of the nose, throat and mouth; and itching of the ears, or other ear problems. Sometimes breathing difficulties occur at night. Coughing is sometimes a symptom and is a result of post nasal dripping of clear mucus. Loss of smell is common and sometimes loss of taste occurs. In severe conditions, nose bleeding occurs.

Why Does Hay Fever cause Sneezing and Swelling?

Sneezing and swelling occurs because when the pollen (or other substance) enters the nose, the body produces antibodies against them. The antibodies release histamine and histamine irritates the upper respiratory passages. When the upper respiratory passages are irritated, swelling and sneezing often occurs.

When Will I Develop Hay Fever?

The "hay fever season" will occur at different times of the year for different people. This happens because trees, grasses, and weeds produce pollens during different seasons. The "hay fever season" greatly depends on where you life.

People in the eastern and Midwestern United States who are sensitive to tree pollen may suffer in the early spring when trees such as elm, maple, birch and poplar are producing pollen. People who are sensitive to pollens produced by grasses may suffer in the late spring, and early summer when most grasses are pollinating.

Can Hay Fever be Controlled?

Hay fever can be controlled by avoiding the substance that causes a reaction, and medications that counteract the histamine that is released during the reaction. A doctor can prescribe medication for you. In severe cases, your doctor may prescribe medication called a corticosteroid.

Hay fever may also be controlled by removing pollen from the air by air conditioners and filters.

Health Complications

If a person experiences repeated hay fever attacks, (year after year) chronic sinusitis, and nasal growths might develop. Chronic sinusitis is the inflammation of the sinus cavities.

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