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Hay Fever (allergic rhinitis) Causes
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Hay fever (allergic rhinitis)

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GENERAL INFORMATION

Allergies
• Anaphylaxis
• Food allergy
• Hay fever
• Hives and angiedema

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Signs and symptoms

Signs and symptoms of hay fever may include:

  • Congestion

  • Runny nose

  • Frequent sneezing

  • Watery eyes

  • Itchy eyes, nose, roof of mouth or throat

  • Cough

It may be difficult to distinguish hay fever from a cold. If you're not sure what is causing your symptoms, look for these clues:

  • A cold tends to last a week or less, while allergy symptoms can persist throughout one or more seasons.

  • Fever, body aches, and sore throat are more likely to be caused by a cold.

  • Nasal secretions caused by a cold tend to be thicker than those caused by hay fever.

Hay fever reactions are mild in many people. If you're not so lucky, your signs and symptoms can be severe enough to disturb your sleep and trigger asthma attacks.

In asthma, airways in your lungs are inflamed and swollen. Muscles surrounding your airways, irritated by inflammation, tighten and constrict spontaneously. Membranes in airway linings secrete excess.

Causes

Although no one knows why, you may be more susceptible than other people are to allergies. Researchers suspect that allergic tendencies are inherited. If your parents have allergies, you may too, although not necessarily to the same things. Hay fever can develop anytime during your life. The good news is that symptoms often fade as you get older.

People with hay fever react to one or more specific allergy-causing substances (allergens), such as pollen, mold, dust mites and pet dander. When you inhale the offending allergen, your immune system reacts to the allergen by releasing histamine, leukotrienes and other chemical substances. These substances work to inflame the linings of your nose, sinuses, eyelids and eyes — causing itching, sneezing, runny nose and watery eyes.

Depending on which substances trigger your allergies and where you live, your symptoms may begin to appear in spring as soon as the ground thaws and plants begin to bloom. Trees are the first to pollinate each spring, beginning as early as January in the southern states and April in the northern states. Grasses begin pollinating in late spring, followed by weeds in the summer and fall. Outdoor mold spores start growing soon after the ground thaws, peaking in midsummer in the warmer states and early fall in the colder states.

Indoor molds, dust mites and pet dander can trigger allergy symptoms throughout the year.

When to seek medical advice

If you experience occasional symptoms of hay fever, try over-the-counter remedies. See your doctor to design a treatment program if there's no improvement, if symptoms are chronic or if you experience side effects from over-the-counter medicines. An allergy specialist is your best bet for an accurate and complete diagnosis.

 

 

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Disclaimer

This information is provided for general medical education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient's medical condition.
In no event will The DrEddyClinic.com be liable for any decision made or action taken in reliance upon the information provided through this web site.

 


 



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Last Modified : 03/14/08 06:59 PM