Achoo! Hay Fever Season…again?
Hay fever is a pollen allergy. Some 26 million Americans have hay fever. Anyone can develop an allergy to a pollen in the environment. Those with allergic tendencies may develop sensitivity to more than one pollen.
Repeated and ongoing sneezing is the most common sign hay fever season has arrived. Hay fever sufferers feel stuffed up, yet experience watery eyes and nose. With a clogged nose, they may experience breathing difficulties at night.
There is more than one hay fever season. Those in the Midwest sensitive to tree pollen suffer in the early spring. Those sensitive to grass pollen get their season in the late spring or early summer. About 50% of all hay fever sufferers are sensitive to grass pollens. Sensitivity to ragweed or other weed pollens is most common in midsummer to late fall.
Sensitivity to certain pollens occurs when tissues that form antibodies are stimulated to make special antibodies as a defense. When the individual is next exposed to the pollen, the antibodies triggers cells to manufacture their defense antibodies. This results in itching, sneezing, secretion of fluids.
There are no simple solutions to hay fever. Air conditioning and air purifiers may help. Dust masks can help make outdoor work possible. Antihistamines that counter the histamine released by the allergen usually provide temporary relief. Decongestants may be helpful, too. An allergy specialist may provide the best relief through allergen testing and starting a regimen of tailored desensitizing injections.