Hay fever

People with allergies tend to experience hay fever during the pollen season. Here’s a complete guide so that you and your loved ones can better protect yourself this pollen season. 

Table of Contents:

  1. What is hay fever?
  2. Causes of hay fever?
  3. What are common allergens?
  4. How can you reduce your chances of getting hay fever?

What is hay fever?

Hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis, causes cold-like symptoms like coughing, sneezing, watery or itchy eyes and sinus pressure. Hay fever commonly affects those with allergies. 

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Causes of hay fever

The term fever might mislead you to think that a virus is the one to blame. But that is not the culprit for hay fever. 

Instead, we should blame allergens. These are substances that, once eaten or inhaled, could cause your immune system to trigger an allergic reaction. 

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What are common allergens?

The common ones are dust mites, pollen, and pet dander. But it is possible to be allergic to anything — from fragrances to cleaning detergents!

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How can you reduce your chances of getting hay fever?

There are a few ways for you to avoid your triggers before things get out of hand.

1. Keep track of pollen levels in the air

Although pet dander and dust mites are ever-present all year round, pollen is seasonal. 

When are common pollen types released into the air? 

  • Tree pollen: early Spring (early March)
  • Grass pollen: late Spring and Summer (late May – June)
  • Ragweed pollen: late Summer and Fall (late August – September)

You could use these tools to get forecasts of the pollen count in your area:

USA pollen forecasting tools (from Pollen.com):

UK pollen forecasting tool:

2. Take your allergy medication early

Dr Parikh, an allergist, recommends taking your medication weeks before pollen season. If you forget, take them as soon as you experience symptoms. 

He says this will prevent your immune system from triggering extreme allergic reactions so you won’t have to suffer severe symptoms like a prolonged runny nose.

3. Take extra precautions at home

  • Keep your doors and windows closed when the pollen count is high.
  • Avoid smoking indoors.
  • Clean your house regularly to keep it dust and mould-free.
  • Remove items that trap dust (e.g. stuffed toys, dried flowers, and curtains).
  • Use Asthma and Allergy friendly certified products (e.g. bedding and cleaning products).
  • Remove house and garden plants that trigger your hay fever.
  • Wipe your home with a clean, damp cloth.
  • Opt for vacuuming over sweeping.
  • Don’t mow the grass.
  • Don’t dry your clothes outdoors when the pollen count is high.

4. Make small changes to your day-to-day activities

  • Shower and wash your hair after going to places with high pollen counts.
  • Wear a mask when cleaning your home. 
  • Stay indoors on days when the pollen count is high. 
  • Avoid places that have more pollen in the air like parks, especially in the early morning and late afternoon (when the pollen count is the highest). 

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References

Henderson, Roger. (2017, April 19). Hay Fever Season Is upon Us. Here’s How to Escape Pollen Pain. Spectator Life. life.spectator.co.uk/articles/hay-fever-season-is-upon-us-heres-how-to-minimise-your-misery/.

Mayo Clinic. Hay Fever – Symptoms and Causes. www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hay-fever/symptoms-causes/syc-20373039.

ScienceDaily. Allergen. www.sciencedaily.com/terms/allergen.htm.

Shortsleeve, Cassie. (2019, February 4). Remind Me: When Does Allergy Season Start Again? Women’s Health. www.womenshealthmag.com/health/a26079033/when-is-allergy-season/.