Hay fever which is also termed as allergic rhinitis is caused due to inflammation of the nasal passages, throat and eyes. It makes its appearance at the age of twelve and the peak symptoms are seen at the age of twenty or thirty which subsides slowly thereafter and may even disappear.
As implied by the name allergic rhinitis, it is caused due to allergic pollen. Human body produces Ig E antibodies against the pollen. The release of Ig E antibody in turn stimulates the release of other chemical substances such as histamines. These histamines are found to be main culprits of all the symptoms associated with hay fever.
Rhinitis that is characterized with a clear nasal discharge, itching and swollen eyes, itching skin or mouth, cough and wheezing. Before you start treatment it is essential to distinguish hay fever from the infectious rhinitis. Negligence of hay fever may result in the development of allergic asthma which is worse than hay fever. The following diagnostic procedure can be used to diagnose hay fever.
A symptom of rhinitis that persists throughout the year is a major sign for hay fever. Skin and blood tests are used to confirm the allergen to which you are allergic to. The test is very simple and involves pricking the skin with a very small amount of allergen. Then, a blood test is done to estimate the amount of Ig E antibodies which the body has produced to counteract the allergen. The results are given on a scale of zero to six. The reading of zero indicates that you are not allergic to any of the injected allergens. Reading of six indicates that you are highly allergic. The entire test is found to take a period of one week to two weeks.
The best treatment for hay fever is to stay away from allergens. If the symptoms are mild they can be easily relieved with drugs such as loratadine which serves as an anti-histamine, it control the level of histamines the body produces as a defensive against allergens. Other anti-histamines that are proven to give relief against hay fever include chlorpheniramine and diphenhydramine. But, these are found to cause drowsiness. Hence, if you are using the other set of antihistamines, it is essential that you do not drive or use any machinery. Anti-histamines can only prevent the release of histamine but cannot prevent its action once released. Phenylephrine and pseudoephedrine are decongestants and they help to unblock the nose very easily.
To treat highly complicated cases of hay fever fexofenadine and desloratadine are used. A great variety of nasal sprays are also available to obtain relief from nasal congestion. Medicines for hay fever have to be used under the guidance of a physician. If you wish to improve your resistance against hay fever then you can try the allergy shots. This involves giving large doses of the allergens so as to make the immune system resistant to the allergen. Long term usage of allergy shots enables your immune system to stop reacting for allergens.