What are the symptoms of hay fever?
Hay fever usually involves an immediate physical reaction after exposure to allergens, and symptoms can last for weeks. The key symptoms are:
- Runny nose (discharge is thin and watery)
- Nasal congestion
- Itchy throat or roof of the mouth
- Postnasal drip
- Itchy nose
- Sinus pressure and pain
Some people get hay fever symptoms confused with cold symptoms. Symptoms of hay fever may appear similar to colds, but there are some key differences. Despite the name, a fever is not a symptom of hay fever. If you have a fever, runny nose with yellow discharge, or your symptoms last only a few days, then you are most likely suffering from a cold and not hay fever. Of course, you’ll have to check with a doctor to confirm.
What Causes Hay Fever?
Hay fever happens after exposure to indoor or outdoor allergens. (It’s important to note that food allergies don’t cause hay fever.) Hay fever happens when your immune system believes a foreign substance (like pollen) to be harmful. Your body decides to attack it by releasing histamines, which give you the hay fever symptoms described. It’s all to remove the foreign substance from your system.
Here are some possible substances that could give a person hay fever:
Dust is one of the most common indoor allergens. It’s also a substance that you are around all year long. Dust can be found on furniture, mattresses, carpets, and window sills.
You could be allergic to certain pets and get hay fever through their fur, dander, or saliva. You’re most likely to get exposed to common household pets like cats and dogs, but horses, rabbits, and guinea pigs can also cause allergic reactions.
People often associate pollen allergies with springtime when nature is blooming, but you can experience pollen allergies all year round (known as perennial allergies). Pollen can activate during different seasons, and you may be allergic to only specific types of pollen. For example, ragweed pollen is common in the fall, and grass pollen is at its peak during late spring and summer.
How To Identify Your Allergy Triggers
If you notice that you are getting allergies, it’s essential to know what’s triggering them. It can help you avoid those allergens and treat them appropriately.
Here are two ways you can identify your allergy triggers:
1. Keep a diary of reactions
Keep track of when you get allergy reactions. It can be in a physical notebook or a memo on your phone but make notes about the time, date, and what you were doing right before it occurred. If you took a walk outside, you would record any hay fever symptoms while you were out or immediately afterward. Or if you have a work environment that allows employees to bring their pets to work, then this could also upset your allergies and should be something you record. Keeping track of your reactions can help you narrow down your possible allergy triggers.
2. Get an allergy test
You may want to get an allergy test to confirm your diagnosis. A skin test will introduce an allergen to a small section of your skin. Your doctor will then monitor you to see if your skin reacts negatively to the allergen. A blood test is when blood gets examined in a laboratory for the specific antibodies that fight allergies. Your doctor may recommend this if there’s a concern about getting a severe reaction from a skin test.
Tips for Managing Hay Fever
This news might be heartbreaking for animal lovers, but you need to limit your time with pets if they’re an allergy trigger. Pet dander can remain airborne for several hours even after the pet has left the area. If you decide to interact with pets, consider doing it outside. You’ll also want to wash your hands to remove pet dander from your skin and use a lint roller to get pet fur off of your clothes.
Stay Indoors During High Pollen Days
Monitoring pollen count may help if you’re allergic to pollen. If the pollen count is high, try to avoid going outside. If you must go outdoors, you can wear sunglasses to prevent pollen from entering your eyes. You may also want to consider taking a shower immediately after to get the pollen off your skin and hair.
Clean Your House Regularly
If you’ve determined that dust or mold is causing your hay fever, then you’ll want to keep your house clean, which can reduce your chances of getting allergies.
Try Over-the-Counter Medications
There are several over-the-counter medications you can take to help your hay fever symptoms. You’ll want to look for oral medications that contain antihistamines or decongestant nasal sprays. A pharmacist can help you choose one that is best for you.
When Should You Consult With a Doctor?
You should consult a doctor about your hay fever if your symptoms don’t improve over time, even with over-the-counter allergy medications. You can also consult with your doctor if your symptoms are severe or are a year-round occurrence. At that point, you’ll probably need stronger prescription medications to deal with hay fever.
Getting prescription allergy medications is easy to do with telemedicine. You don’t need to drive to the doctor or get a referral to an allergy specialist. Alpha Medical allows you to consult with a doctor online about your symptoms. Alpha Providers can give you advice on how to manage your allergies and can prescribe allergy medications to relieve your symptoms.
What Kind of Treatment Could a Doctor Prescribe?
Your doctor may recommend prescription allergy medication, in addition to suggestions on some lifestyle changes that you can make to manage your allergies.
Here’s a breakdown of what your doctor could prescribe:
- Antihistamines: Your doctor may recommend this drug as a preventative method or if you only experience allergies occasionally.
- Corticosteroid Nasal Spray: You might get a corticosteroid version of a nasal decongestant to reduce the inflammation of your nasal passage and prevent hay fever symptoms.
- Nasal Decongestant: You might get a non-steroid version of a nasal spray. It can reduce inflammation in your nasal passage, and it might also have antihistamines to help with other hay fever symptoms.
- Oral Tablet: Corticosteroid tablets may get prescribed to deal with severe symptoms. It’s not a long-term option of dealing with hay fever. You may also get prescribed Leukotriene Receptor Antagonist (LTRAs) to help manage symptoms.
- Oral Solution: If you struggle with taking pills or don’t like them, then you can ask for a liquid solution. There are options to treat hay fever with a syrup.
- Eye Drops: Corticosteroid eye drops are helpful if your main symptoms are dry, red, or itchy eyes.
- Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy may take about three years to complete. It’s a treatment that involves slowly exposing an allergen to you, which would help you build immunity.
- Epinephrine: If you are at risk of getting anaphylaxis, or severe and life-threatening allergic reactions, then you might need an EpiPen. Hopefully, you’ll never need to use it, but it can slow down allergic reactions to give you more time to seek medical help.
How Alpha Medical Can Help Your Hay Fever
If you’re ready for hay fever to stop interfering with your day, then talk to one of our doctors.
Our online medical consultations can save you time and money. Our doctors are happy to treat you virtually from the comfort of your own home. If they prescribe any medications, then we can have them shipped straight to your door! Free shipping, as always.