What is hay fever?
Hay fever is the inflammation of nasal cavity caused by exposure of an individual to the allergens such as dust, pollens, animal dander etc.
What are the symptoms of hay fever?
Hay fever produces almost similar symptoms as that of allergic rhinitis. Patient complains of runny nose, watery discharge from eyes and nose, frequent sneezing, redness of eyes, itching and irritation of eyes and generalized feeling of weakness and debility.
Severe cases of hay fever present with sinus congestion, headaches and loss of sensations of taste and smell.
How can I differentiate hay fever from allergic rhinitis?
The symptoms of hay fever appear all of a sudden, as soon as the patient is exposed to the allergens. There is always the history of exposure to allergens in the case of hay fever. Moreover, hay fever is not associated with the fever in the patient. Hay fever does not come under control unless the exposure to allergen is stopped.
Whereas, allergic rhinitis presents with either watery or thick discharge from nose with body aches and fever. Allergic rhinitis is caused by virus. It can develop after 24 to 48 hours after the exposure to virus. Allergic rhinitis comes under control within 3 to 7 days.
What are the causes of hay fever?
As said earlier, exposure to an allergen is the prime cause for the development of hay fever. The overreaction of immune system causes the production of antibodies called as IgE or immunoglobulin E. This antibody releases a substance called as histamine which is responsible for causing various symptoms of hay fever in a person.
What are the common allergens causing hay fever?
The allergens can be divided into two groups.
- Indoor allergens: cockroaches, dust mites, moulds and animal dander of pet animals like dogs, cats and birds.
- Outdoor allergens: Pollens are the most common outdoor allergens responsible for causing hay fever. The pollens from trees, grass, weedsetc. are carried by the wind during springs and summer from one place to another. When these pollens are inhaled by the sensitive persons, it can cause hay fever in them.
Sources of pollens: Almost all flowering plants and trees produce pollens throughout the year. Out of these grass pollens, pollens of trees like birch, oak, cedar, ash, cherries, apples etc. are known to produce hay fever. Some weeds like dock and nettles are also known to cause hay fever.
Time of production of pollens: Different plants and trees have different time when there is production of pollens. It is seen that
- From late March to May (mid) tree pollens are in high concentration
- From mid –May to July grass pollens are in high concentration
- From end of June to September weed pollens are found in high concentration in the air.
If a patient of hay fever knows about the type of pollen he is allergic to and the time frame around which that particular pollens are found more in the atmosphere, he can be more alert and careful.
- Mold: Other common allergen is a mold. Molds are a type of fungus without roots, leaves or stems. They are found throughout the year. Molds can be found both indoors and outdoors. Wet bathrooms, kitchens and basements where circulation of fresh air is not very good are ideal breeding places for mold. Outside the house mold can grow on rotten woods, vegetations and soil.
Treatment of hay fever:
Conventional medicine treats the case of hay fever with antihistamines, steroids and decongestants. As long as the patient is on such kinds of medicines, he feels better. On stopping the medicines, the symptoms of hay fever appear again in the patients. Moreover, antihistamines are also known to cause drowsiness in the patient. This can adversely affect the productivity and efficiency of the patient in terms of work.
Homeopathic approach to the treatment of hay fever:
Homeopathy offers very good results in controlling the symptoms of hay fever. Hay fever is found to affect the individuals who have altered immunity. Their bodies overreact to the allergens.
It is found that this alteration of immunity is genetic and it can run in families. Homeopathic medicines work at the immunity level. They address the complex immunological system and correct the deranged or altered immunity. Thus, by strengthening the immunity and making the patient strong enough to fight against allergens.
The immunity strengthened by homeopathic medicines can reduce the frequency of development of hay fever and reduce the intensity of symptoms of hay fever in the individual.
Homeopathic medicines are highly recommended for the treatment of hay fever.