What Is Hay Fever?

Dr. Mai-Vy Hoang 10/17/2016

couple-with-colds.pngHay fever is also known as allergic rhinitis and is an allergic reaction to airborne allergens. It is not an allergy to hay nor is it a fever.

The allergens that typically cause allergic rhinitis include spores from fungi, ragweed pollen and pet dander. Smoke inhalation, dust mites and changes in humidity can also result in hay fever. How often you get hay fever and the times of year that it occurs are largely dependent on the substance to which you are allergic and the part of the country in which you live.

Hay Fever Symptoms

The symptoms of hay fever are produced by your immune system, which is responding to harmless substances as if they were harmful. Hay fever symptoms include:

  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy and irritated eyes (seasonal allergic conjunctivitis)
  • Congested sinuses
  • Allergic shiners (dark circles caused by sinus congestion)
  • Swollen eyelids

All of these symptoms are produced by your body's protection mechanism as it tries to get rid of the allergen.

Hay Fever Risk Factors

Genetics
You are more likely to develop hay fever if you have a close relative who has it. In addition, a close family member with any type of allergy indicates that your risk of hay fever is higher.

Asthma
Many people who suffer from hay fever also suffer from asthma.

Gender
A young male has a higher likelihood of developing hay fever than a young female.

Allergies
If you have other types of allergies, your risk of hay fever is higher.

You Come From a Small Family
If you are an only child or have just one sibling, your likelihood of developing hay fever is higher when compared to someone from a larger family.

You can avoid hay fever triggers by:

  • Keeping your windows closed during the seasons when you typically suffer from hay fever.
  • Use a dehumidifier to control mold growth in your home.
  • Washing your hands after touching animals.
  • Using over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants.
  • Avoiding locations where people are smoking.

Despite the fact that hay fever can make you miserable, it is not usually seen as a serious medical problem. As a result, many sufferers never bother seeking medical advice; however, if your eyes are suffering from allergy symptoms, the eye doctors at Broome Optical in Amarillo can help. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and to learn more about treatments for your hay fever symptoms.

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