Seasonal allergic rhinitis, commonly known as hay fever, is our body’s response to certain triggers, like pollen, by creating antibodies. When an allergen is introduced into our system our body releases histamine, which is supposed to protect our body against that allergen which causes the symptoms of hay fever, such as sneezing, a runny nose, and itchy eyes.
Anyone can get allergies, but people whose family has a history of allergies are more likely to develop it themselves. Of course, there are outside factors that can worsen or trigger an allergic response, such as chemicals, temperature, smoke, and others.
The most common way to diagnose what one is allergic to is the skin prick test. This test is done by placing concentrated dosages of the most common allergens on the skin and, as the test name suggests, the skin gets pricked with a sterile needle, just on the surface. For a more profound test, there are also the blood or radioallergosorbent tests, where the amount of IgE (immunoglobulin E) antibodies in our blood are measured depending on allergens in our blood.
The most common treatment for allergies is taking antihistamines which work by stopping or reducing the amount of histamine our body produces. For those suffering from cold-like symptoms because of allergies using decongestants over short periods can help reduce the symptoms, as well as eye drops and nasal sprays. Corticosteroids are also used with allergic reactions to reduce inflammation and the immune response to the allergen.
Another way to reduce and maybe even get rid of an allergic response is immunotherapy. This is a long-term treatment where our body gets used to the allergen by taking a shot according to a plan made by a doctor.
There are of course home remedies that help reduce or placate our body while having allergies. Some methods might work for some and for others not at all. With hay fever using an air conditioner instead or having the windows can help reduce the amount of pollen that gets into the house. An air filter or purifier could also help reduce the symptoms.
Hay fever is different from person to person depending on what kind of pollen they are allergic to. Tree pollen is around generally from March until May, and grass pollen is starting May until August. Certain plants release their pollen late in the summer making the hay fever active period from March to October. It’s more difficult for people who are allergic to more than one kind of pollen.
How each one of us treats their allergies depends on what triggers them and the intensity. For some people, simple medication might work to keep the symptoms at bay while for others it just takes them down a notch. It all depends on what triggers the allergic response and trying to find ways to reduce being around them.