HAY FEVER

  • Also called allergic rhinitis.
  • A common condition affecting approximately 40 to 60 million Americans, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI).
  • Similar to other allergy types, this is the body’s response to an allergen, either indoor or outdoor. These can include:
    • Animal dander
    • Dust mites
    • Mold spore
    • Pollen
    • Grass
  • May be seasonal (during spring or summer months) or year-long.

Symptoms can be mild to severe, and may include any of the following:

  • watery, itchy eyes
  • sneezing
  • coughing
  • itchy nose, mouth, or throat
  • sinus pressure
  • inability to smell or taste
  • stuffy nose

DIAGNOSIS

  • A physician may perform:
    • History and Physical exam

There are two tests used to diagnose hay fever:

  • Skin Prick Test
    • A small sample of different allergens is pricked into your skin. Doctors administer the test in either the arm or upper back. After about 20 minutes, your doctor evaluates your skin for an allergic response, which can include a rash or hives.
  • Allergy Blood Test
    • If a skin prick test doesn’t offer answers, your doctor may recommend an allergy blood test. A blood sample will be drawn from a vein in your arm. This type of test is very specific and tests for only one type of allergen as a time.

 

RECOMMENDED MEDICATIONS

Hay Fever Treatments

  • Avoidance of substances that trigger a reaction.
  • Medications such as:
    • Nasal corticosteroids: reduces nasal inflammation and runny nose.
    • Antihistamines: block histamine, which is the chemical that causes symptoms of an allergic reaction. Available over-the-counter or by prescription, antihistamines can stop a runny nose and sneezing.
    • Decongestants: shrinks swollen membranes in the nose, which helps relieve nasal congestion caused by colds and allergies.
    • Oral corticosteroids: In the case of severe allergies. These drugs can effectively reduce allergy symptoms, but long-term use increases the risk for muscle weakness, osteoporosis, and cataracts.
    • Nasal rinse: Nasal irrigation or a saline rinse is another effective treatment for hay fever. These rinses are available over-the-counter and designed to flush allergens from your nose and reduce symptoms. Use sinus rinses as instructed.
    • Other drugs used to treat hay fever include cromolyn sodium, leukotriene modifiers, and nasal ipratropium.

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