Not everyone with the advent of spring rejoices in the ubiquitous flowering of nature. Someone is forced to endure endless coughing fits, nasal congestion and lacrimation. These are the signs of the disease common today – hay fever.

This type of disease is found in 5-30% of people around the globe, which makes it more than recognizable. Moreover, both among residents of large megacities and in the remote rural outback. What is it and is hay fever treated? Let’s try to find out.

Causes of hay fever

Start with the main question: what is hay fever? Popularly, this disease is better known as an allergy to plant pollen. Sometimes it is also called hay fever. It manifests itself in the form of eye damage: itching, swelling of the eyelids, redness of the eyes, as well as sneezing, coughing and even attacks of suffocation (in some rare cases).

The main factor in the manifestation of an allergic reaction of this type (cause) is the pollen of plants (both coniferous and flowering). More than 700 different herbs and trees can cause allergies.

Even without the participation of insects, pollen is freely carried by the wind and into the respiratory tract, causing allergies. For the body’s reaction in the air, its concentration should be sufficient. It is proved that pollen accumulation reaches its maximum in the early morning, especially on days when there is clear sunny weather, moderate humidity (it is noticeably less in rain or dry weather).

Each individual region has its own “pollination schedule,” so someone takes anti-allergy drugs in March, someone in August, etc.

You can learn about the TOP 10 most dangerous allergens from our article of the same name.  

Symptoms of hay fever

Symptoms of an allergy are the same as conjunctivitis and rhinitis. Less commonly, as in bronchial asthma. But unlike the same year-round rhinitis , the disease caused by plants has several distinctive features. For example, an allergic person begins to sneeze excessively often (up to 30 times in a row), feels itchy nose, temperature changes, cannot get rid of constant watery discharge from the nose. 

Of the similar characteristics of both rhinitis, one can distinguish pressure in the face and ears, as well as loss of smell, headache, toothache, sore throat, cough, fatigue and even bad breath, in extreme cases, fever. Conjunctivitis also leaves its mark on the patient’s condition: a person suffers from itching in the eyes.

A disease can occur in completely different ways. For example, with a high concentration of pollen in the air a person can have a severe attack, and then hospitalization is inevitable (and with it droppers with hormonal drugs in the hospital or inhalation for the entire flowering period of plants at home). In other situations, the disease is tolerated more or less calmly.

The most rare symptoms of allergies are atopic dermatitis , urticaria, and angioedema, not to mention cystitis, vulvitis, or nephritis. 

If pollen is ingested with food, a new series of symptoms may occur, such as nausea, vomiting, stool problems, stomach pain, etc.

When the pollen season ends, the lungs again begin to function normally, and the symptoms completely disappear. But there are exceptions. For example, in those living in ecologically unfavorable regions, symptoms may persist for another couple of weeks.

Diagnosis of hay fever

An unambiguous conclusion about the patient’s condition can only be made by an immunologist. The basis for this can be the history data, the results of skin tests, a blood test , as well as the detection of specific immunoglobulins E to pollen allergens. 

A skin test includes puncture of the skin of the forearm with a special needle (prik-test) or surface incision with a skin scarifier.

Along the way, the specialist clarifies the patient’s place of residence at the time of symptoms (or exacerbations), summarizes the nature of the symptoms (their relationship with the weather, food, travel to an area with a different climate, etc.).

If the exact boundaries of the seasonal exacerbation of the disease are unclear, the patient may be asked to keep a special diary in which he will outline the manifestations of symptoms, as well as the effectiveness of the drugs. In the future, due to such a diary, it will be easier for the doctor to prescribe a course of treatment or even determine whether it is necessary.

It is also necessary to be able to distinguish allergies from seasonal colds 

Pollinosis treatment

In view of the similarity of diseases with hay fever, the same tablets are prescribed as for allergic rhinitis, conjunctivitis or bronchial asthma. In order to somehow control the manifestation of symptoms, intranasal drugs are used, which may include hormonal, vasoconstrictive, antihistamine components, and anti-allergic non-hormonal substances – derivatives of cromoglicic acid. Medications containing hormones should be prescribed by your doctor.

To prevent attacks that have already begun, take antihistamines (all kinds of drops for the eyes or nose). In the case of bronchial asthma, these can be bronchodilators of a short period of action (the latter only with the permission of a doctor).  

To alleviate the condition during the period of intensive flowering of plants, it is better to avoid trips out of town, work in the fields or personal plots, even basic walks in the park or physical exertion in nature.

As protection against pollen, nasal sprays or intranasal respirators are used. Eyes are protected with sunglasses or lenses. Upon arrival from the street, doctors advise to immediately change all underwear, as well as take a shower and rinse hair.

Treatment of spring polliznoz during pregnancy is strictly under the supervision of a doctor. Individually selected medicines that are not able to harm the fetus.

It makes sense to try and folk remedies, homeopathy. Of course, they will not be able to cure chronic hay fever, but they are likely to reduce a person’s predisposition to hay fever.

Of the non-drug methods of curing the disease (or at least reducing the intensity of its manifestations), moving to another climatic zone is considered the most effective.

TOP 5 myths about allergy treatment are presented in our article “Allergy Treatment – Myths and Reality” . 

Medicine does not stand still: new means and methods of treating allergies are constantly being developed. Today, specific immunotherapy is considered one of the most effective ways to treat this disease . 

Diet for hay fever

With a diagnosis of hay fever, foods that cross-react to groups of pollen allergens cannot be eaten. That is, the patient’s menu changes significantly when dieting.

Allergies to tree pollen are prohibited: nuts (especially hazelnuts), carrots, parsley, tomatoes, potatoes, birch sap, kiwi, apples, cherries, plums, nectarines, peaches and celery. 

For allergies to cereal herbs: any butter products (including flour products), semolina, sprouted cereals, bran, kvass, dumplings, puddings, ice cream, breadcrumbs, sorbet, crepes, sausage, corn, beer, coffee substitutes, sorrel and wheat vodka. 

For allergies to weed pollen: sunflower oil, mayonnaise, halva, honey, beets, eggplant, lettuce, chicory, citrus fruits, mustard, spinach, watermelon, zucchini, beets, citrus fruits, vermouth and absinthe. 

Pollinosis in children

Children are the most vulnerable category of patients in relation to the manifestations of hay fever. Most often, the onset of the disease occurs between the ages of 3 and 10 years, moreover, in boys more often than in girls. Children’s pollinosis is the same disease as in adults, respectively, with the same symptoms.

Do they take pollinosis in the army?

The list of diseases with which the recruit is exempted from service does not say anything about seasonal allergies. On the other hand, invalidation is possible if hay fever causes serious complications (say, Quincke’s edema, hearing loss, vision loss, life-threatening seizures, etc.). They take into the army those who suffer from allergies for only one or two months a year and calmly react to those products that are included in the army ration.

Are there types of hay fever?

There is no general classification of hay fever. It is customary to divide the disease seasonally, depending on which plants that can cause allergies are currently blooming. It can be spring hay fever, summer or autumn.

In any case, compliance with elementary rules (proper nutrition and taking the prescribed drugs) guarantees the patient an acceptable state of health at each stage of the disease, not to mention preventive measures.