An allergy caused by pollen in which the mucous membranes of the eyes and nose are inflamed, causing running at the nose and watery eyes.
What is Hay Fever?
Why does it make me feel so miserable?
Hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen. It triggers a wide range of discomfort ranging from blocked and runny nose to sinus pain. Hay fever can make your eyes itch, look bloodshot and watery. While it can even dull your senses of taste and smell and give you asthma. Many feel exhausted and avoid the outdoors.
Most sufferers are troubled with grass pollen only (10,000 pollen grains fit on the tip of a needle) but a significant number are also sensitive to tree and grass pollen. Their season starts in early spring with mild nasal irritation. By the time summer arrives they are already sniffing and sneezing. Now even small amounts of grass pollen can triggers much worse symptoms. If not treated the nose and sinus discomfort can drag on into the Autumn/Fall months.
If you sneeze a lot, if your nose is often runny or stuffy, or if your eyes, mouth or skin often feels itchy, you may have allergic rhinitis, a condition that affects 40 million to 60 million Americans.
Allergic rhinitis, like skin rashes and other allergies, develops when the body’s immune system becomes sensitized and overreacts to something in the environment that typically causes no problem in most people.
Allergic rhinitis is commonly known as hay fever. But you don’t have to be exposed to hay to have symptoms. And contrary to what the name suggests, you don’t have to have a fever to have hay fever.
Allergic rhinitis takes two different forms:
Seasonal: Symptoms of seasonal allergic rhinitis can occur in spring, summer and early fall. They are usually caused by allergic sensitivity to airborne mold spores or to pollens from grass, trees and weeds.
Perennial: People with perennial allergic rhinitis experience symptoms year-round. It is generally caused by dust mites, pet hair or dander, cockroaches or mold. Underlying or hidden food allergies rarely cause perennial nasal symptoms.
Some people may experience both types of rhinitis, with perennial symptoms getting worse during specific pollen seasons. There are also nonallergic causes for rhinitis.
Hay Fever Symptoms.
- Runny nose
- Itchy eyes, mouth or skin
- Stuffy nose due to blockage or congestion
- Fatigue (often reported due to poor quality sleep as a result of nasal obstruction)