Hay fever or allergic rhinitis is a response to certain allergens associated with many unpleasant symptoms that include runny nose, stuffy nose, sneezing, itchy eyes, watery eyes, coughing, scratchy throat, itchy skin, rash, and headache. Mold, dust mites, grass pollen, and animal dander often trigger hay fever; during its "high" season, pollen can be especially problematic for people with this condition. Fortunately, there are many treatments for hay fever.
Antihistamines are commonly used to treat hay fever. While effective, these medications do not stop the reaction, they simply block the pathogens from causing such extreme symptoms. Before embarking on a course of antihistamines, it is important to discuss this treatment with your doctor, especially if you are taking any other medications.
Congestion is a major symptom of hay fever. Some people use decongestants to get relief from sinus pressure and stuffy nose in the short term. If you have heart disease, high blood pressure, or a sleep disorder, discuss using decongestants with your physician before taking them. Additionally, decongestants should not be used for long periods or they could cause symptoms to worsen when they do occur.
Nasal sprays can alleviate symptoms of hay fever. However, like decongestants, they can cause an unpleasant rebound effect. If you use a nasal spray too often, symptoms may become more intense when they do occur. If you only experience allergy symptoms periodically, you might be a good candidate for nasal sprays. However, if you have hay fever symptoms throughout the year, discuss your problem with an allergist or your healthcare provider. You might benefit from a different course of long-term treatment.
Itchy, watery, or overly dry eyes are typical symptoms of hay fever. These symptoms may make work and daily tasks difficult. The medication in the drops can reduce inflammation and ease the body's immune response to the allergens that lead to symptoms. Ask your allergist or doctor to recommend the best eye drops for you.
Doctors sometimes prescribe immunotherapy or allergy shots for people with severe allergies. Over time, immunotherapy can reduce the body's response to allergens, which results in less intense allergy symptoms or even fewer altogether. Immunotherapy requires a long-term commitment, as the shots may be required for several years. Some people may not notice any improvement in the initial year. However, many people who continue their treatment report their symptoms fade or disappear completely over time.
Acupuncture is often used to treat pain, but it's increasingly used to treat allergies too. A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine reported that acupuncture helped alleviate symptoms associated with seasonal allergies such as sneezing and itchy eyes. The study subjects experienced a reduction in symptoms and reported needing fewer antihistamines to achieve relief.
Many people find pollen triggers their hay fever symptoms. Since plants produce pollen for a considerable part of the year, these allergy symptoms can impact daily life almost constantly. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health recommends honey as a potential treatment for hay fever or allergic rhinitis. It is thought that when a person eats local honey, they are also ingesting local pollen. Practitioners believe that over time, this can desensitize the individual so they experience fewer or less-intense symptoms.
Probiotics are another alternative to conventional therapies such as antihistamines; they may reduce the inflammation associated with hay fever. However, researching are still trying to unravel exactly how probiotics help people with allergies.
While many people know what triggers their hay fever symptoms, others aren't exactly sure what causes those sneezes and itchy, watery eyes. By undergoing allergy testing, people can find out exactly what allergens are to blame. Once they know if it's ragweed, dust mites, or mold, they may be able to take more effective steps to avoid them.
If you are prone to have fever, you can rely on some of the treatments outlined here. However, you may also want to prevent the condition from flaring up. Pay attention to pollen counts. Using the air conditioner during hay fever season allows you to keep your windows closed, preventing the pollen from entering your home. Small steps like this can minimize your hay fever symptoms.
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