Doctor's Notes on Hay Fever
Hay fever (also termed allergic rhinitis) is a nonspecific somewhat misleading term (fever is not usually a symptom) that refers to the signs and symptoms many people develop with the change of seasons. Classic signs and symptoms of hay fever are itchy, puffy, and watery eyes plus a red, stuffy nose that appears at the change of seasons, especially when heavy concentrations of pollen and/or mold spores are airborne. Other signs and symptoms may include
- bloodshot eyes,
- ear stuffiness, and
- difficulty sleeping.
The cause of hay fever is the body's overactive immune response to antigens on pollen, molds, or other airborne compounds that trigger the production of chemicals like histamine that produce symptoms and signs. These antigens can be eaten, swallowed, or contact mucus membranes where immune system cells recognize them as foreign substances and react.
What Is the Treatment for Hay Fever?
The first treatment is for patients to limit exposure to the many antigens that are airborne. If you have exposure to hay fever antigens, for many people, over-the-counter (OTC) medications (corticosteroids) in nasal sprays work well to control signs and symptoms. Some people may benefit by adding an OTC antihistamine while others may require prescription medicine; the following are examples of such medications (caregivers may recommend taking some OTCs in combination):
- OTC nasal corticosteroids: mometasone, fluticasone, budesonide
- OTC antihistamines: loratadine, cetirizine, fexofenadine, some include cromolyn sodium
- OTC decongestants: pseudoephedrine, oxymetazoline, phenylephrine
Prescription medications include the following:
Other treatments may include the following:
- Allergy shots
- Under-the-tongue allergy tablets
- Sinus rinses: Use with caution, and carefully follow the directions for use.
Your allergy specialist can help design a treatment plan for your hay fever problems.
Allergies : Symptoms & Home Remedies QuizQuestion
Allergies can best be described as:See Answer
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Allergy and Hay Fever MedicationsThere are many types of medications available to combat the symptoms of allergies and hay fever. The types of medications include antihistamines (Claritin, Zyrtec), decongestants (Sudafed), anticholinergic nasal sprays (Atrovent), corticosteroid nasal sprays (Flonase, Nasonex), antiallergy eyedrops (Patanol), leukotriene inhibitors (Singulair), and mast cell inhibitors (Nasalcrom).
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Chronic BronchitisBronchitis is inflammation of the air passages in the lungs. There are several viruses and bacteria that cause bronchitis. Exposure to pollutants or tobacco smoke are also risks. Bronchitis is contagious if it is viral or bacterial. It is not contagious if it is due to smoking, air pollution, and other inhaled irritants. Symptoms of bronchitis include cough, sore throat, wheezing, fever, chills, etc. Treatment for bronchitis depends on the cause.
Indoor AllergensCommon indoor allergens include pet dander, molds, plant pollens and other substances. These last year-round and aggravate the immune systems of people with hay fever, asthma, and other allergies. Antihistamines can relieve symptoms like runny nose, sneezing, and headaches. Remove carpet, clean upholstered furniture, and clean regularly to help remove allergens from the home.
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Sinus Infection (Sinusitis)Chronic and acute sinus infections and sinusitis is a condition in which the sinuses become inflamed and/or infected. Sinus infection symptoms and signs include bad breath, runny or stuffy nose, or nasal congestion, facial pain and swelling, tooth pain, ringing in the ears, sinus headache, fever, sore throat, and cough.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.