Harnessing Hay Fever
When a person with a sensitized immune system inhales an allergen such as pollen, dust or animal dander, an allergic inflammation of the nasal airways occurs. This is generally known as Allergic Rhinitis. And when this condition is caused particularly by grass pollens, it is known as Hay Fever. The common symptoms include excess nasal secretions, itching, nasal congestion, inflammation of nasal passages, watery eyes and eyelid swelling. A lot of people suffer from this allergy and they know how irritating and sometimes painful it can be. The reasons might be environmental exposure or hereditary . However, both are things you cannot really control so.
There are a few ways of dealing with Hay Fever. A lot of people however, do nothing and just go through waiting for it to get over. While that may be ok because you will get better soon anyways, there are a few things that you can do in order to improve your condition while you are suffering through this allergy.
The most commonly used method is taking antihistamines. That is effective because the primary inflammatory mediator released during Hay Fever is histamine which in turn causes the inflammation or the nasal passages. Antihistamines are drugs to control symptoms like sneezing, excess nasal secretions and itching which can be taken orally or nasally. But for antihistamines to work best, they should be taken before the exposure. Meaning, an antihistamine is a preventive measure and will not really be as effective as it can be if it is taken after your symptoms are already showing. If you are already suffering because of your allergy, the most an antihistamine will do is prevent it from getting worse. However if you take an antihistamine before exposure, before the symptoms show, it can be extremely effective. Antihistamine drugs have a few side effects which may include sedating effects, drowsiness and fatigue. But second and third generation antihistamines are less likely to trigger these side effects.
Another option for you might be nasal steroids which are effective to reduce nasal inflammation from histamine release. Some people use nasal steroids with antihistamines but they can be used in isolation as well. One of the best things about nasal steroids is that they are absorbed directly into the nasal passages and almost none of it enters the blood stream. This means that there are safe and do not cause any noticeable side effects. The only problem is that they are a little more expensive and require prescription.
For people who are looking for long term solution to Hay Fever, Allergen Immunotherapy might be a solution. In simple terms, allergy shots. This treatment involves introducing allergens into the body in small doses to accustom it to them. The allergen that are introduced into the body are harmless. This technique is effective since it induces long term tolerance towards these allergen. The problem with this is that they need to be administered weekly for the first few months and monthly for a few years after that. Though it does give long term results, it is difficult to follow through for such a long time.