Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Hay Fever

Hay Fever
1.       What is hay fever?
Hay fever is an allergic reaction of the nose, throat and eyes to irritating allergies in the air.  It is also known as allergic rhinitis.  It is also similar to asthma, except that fact that the allergic over-sensitive reaction occurs in the upper respiratory tract instead of the lungs.  There are two types of allergic rhinitis.  The first is seasonal rhinitis which occurs only during certain seasons, usually spring.  The second type is perennial rhinitis.  It is present throughout the whole year.
2.       What are the symptoms?
The common symptoms are sneezing, itchy and running nose, itchy dry throat and itchy watery eyes.  People can also generally feel listless, irritable and find it difficult to concentrate.
3.       What is the cause of hay fever?
The airborne irritants are known as allergens.  The allergens enter the nose, throat and eyes and cause sensitive cells to become active.  These active sensitive cells release a substance called histamine which causes the above symptoms.  The allergens are either foreign proteins or chemicals.  They include:
a.      Pollens from trees in spring and grass in summer.
b.      House dust mites and mould.
c.      Hair, fur or feather from cats, dogs, horses and birds.
d.      Some foods, such as milk, eggs, peanuts and peanuts butters.
e.      Chemicals, such as smoke, paint, spray, cosmetic, aspirin can make hay fever worse. 
Emotional upset, fatigue, alcohol, chilly damp weather and air conditioning can also aggravate and worsen hay fever. Hay fever does tend to run in the family.  Children whose parents have hay fever and allergies will have an increased chance of having hay fever. It is a common medical condition that people can grow into it and out of it at any age.
4.       What are the risks?
Hay fever is not a serious disease.  However, if left un-treated, it can lead to asthma, nasal polyps and hearing problems.  There is no cure for hay fever.  Modern treatment can control the problems and relieve its symptoms.  Hay fever can be so mild that some people do not realize they have it and some seem to grow out of it.  You should consult your doctor if you have severe symptoms of hay fever.
5.       What is the treatment?
a.      Self-help measures:
1.      Keep healthy by eating a well-balanced diet and avoid junk foods.
2.      Live sensibly with balanced exercise, rest and recreation.
3.      Don’t rub your eyes if they are itchy, because that will make it worse.
4.      Avoid contact lenses if you have symptoms in your eyes.
5.      Avoid using decongestant nose drops and sprays, because they worsen the
   effect which occurs on the rebound.
b.      Avoidance therapy:
1.    Avoid particular allergens if you know what they are.
2.    Minimise sources of house dust mite, such as bedding, upholstered furniture,
 fluffy toys and carpets by effective cleaning them regularly.
3.     Pets, such as dogs & cats, should be kept outside if you are allergic to their fur.
4.     Avoid irritant chemicals, such as aspirin, smoke, cosmetics, paints and sprays.
c.       Medical treatment:
There are many treatments available for hay fever. They range from antihistamine medications to desensitisation. The newer antihistamine medications do not cause as much drowsiness as the older ones did.  Sprays for the nose and drops for the eyes are also available on medical prescription. These nasal sprays and eye drops are very effective. Please see your doctor for advice and effective treatments on your hay fever.

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