Hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis or seasonal rhinitis, is a common condition which can cause symptoms similar to a cold when someone is exposed to pollen. There are many other things in the world which can provoke an allergic reaction in certain people. The exact causes and how serious the allergy is (ranging from mild to life-threatening) varies. but there are plenty of ways that specific allergies can be properly identified and treated.
Most allergies which people can get are mild, but even mild symptoms can be really annoying and majorly disrupt your daily routine. With the help of a qualified doctor or pharmacist, you can get advice and supervision to manage your allergies and symptoms, whether it be hay fever or another type. There are all sorts of medications including tablets, nasal sprays, eye drops and auto-injector pens which can be offered to patients and these treatments can be ordered online here at iMeds.
Dr. Diana Gall
Our Health Care Team
"Allergies affect many people across the UK and hay fever is one of the most common and bothersome types of allergy. Hay fever is most common around spring and summer time, since they are the high pollen seasons. The symptoms are similar to having a cold and can be really distracting, but you can easily be prescribed antihistamines if you are having a hard time dealing with hay fever. A lot of other things besides pollen can be responsible for triggering allergic reactions. There are all sorts of tests and treatments accessible from your GP or special clinics which can allow you to identify what’s responsible for your allergic reactions and how best to treat it."
Hay fever in a nutshell
Hay fever and allergies affect millions of people across Britain. The severity of these conditions can vary a lot, but even in mild cases they are hard to ignore. While allergies can develop at any age, they are more common among children. A lot of children usually grow out of allergies they have, while some adults can develop an allergic reaction to certain things that were never previously an issue.
Hay fever (also known as allergic rhinitis) is one of the most common allergies which people experience and it is caused when grass, tree and weed pollen is high. When someone experiences hay fever or a similar kind of allergy, the body tries to protect itself from the allergen it has been exposed to and this causes symptoms.
In the case of hay fever, the symptoms are similar to a cold. For some, hay fever is a mild irritation but for others it can massively disrupt their daily routine. The symptoms can be kept under control with the help of medication.
Certain allergies can be dangerous, particularly if you have other health conditions such as asthma. If someone has a particularly strong (and potentially fatal) allergic reaction to something, this is known as an anaphylactic shock.
If you think you are allergic to something, you can speak to your GP about the symptoms you’re experiencing. You can be offered advice and treatment on mild allergies with a clear cause, but if the allergy is more severe or it’s less clear what you’re allergic to, then you may be referred to a specialist allergy clinic.
There are different types of tests which can be carried out to identify allergies. One of the most common is skin prick testing, which involves putting a drop of liquid onto your forearm and pricking the area of skin exposed to the liquid. An itchy, red bump will appear within 15 minutes if the patient is allergic to the substance in the liquid. This test can be a little uncomfortable but it’s not particularly painful and it’s a safe technique.
Another possible method is a blood test, which may be run alongside a skin prick test. If the allergy is food related, then potential tests can include an elimination diet, where you avoid eating a particular food to see if your symptoms improve over time and then you try the food that may be causing a reaction a few weeks later. This is done under the supervision of a qualified healthcare professional. Similarly, there is also challenge testing, which involves trying a food you may be allergic to in gradually increasing amounts to see how you react under close supervision.
There does exist commercial allergy-testing kits which people can use at home, but the NHS does not recommend these are used. That’s because these test kits are usually not as reliable as the tests conducted at NHS or accredited private clinics.
Anaphylactic shocks explained
A severe allergic reaction which can be fatal is known as an anaphylactic shock or anaphylaxis. The symptoms can develop quickly and suddenly when the body is exposed to something its allergic to. One of the most common triggers of anaphylaxis is nuts. Peanut allergy is one of the most dangerous types of allergy a person can have.
Symptoms can include light-headedness, wheezing, clammy skin, swelling and loss of consciousness. It’s important to identify symptoms as quickly as possible if you or someone you’re with experiences an anaphylactic shock. If it occurs, a method to stop the reaction from being life threatening should be used in response, such as administering an adrenaline auto-injector pen. Such treatments are available to order online from iMeds.
Hay fever season
Hay fever is known as seasonal rhinitis as it occurs during particular times of the year. Perennial allergic rhinitis can occur year round and can be triggered by all sorts of things such as dust mites, animal hair, food, insect bites or latex.
It is during early spring and the summer months when hay fever is most likely to affect people. This is due to the amount of pollen in the air that’s produced by grass, trees and weeds during these periods of the year.
Hay fever symptoms
Hay fever/seasonal rhinitis shares similar symptoms to perennial (year-round) allergic rhinitis, with common ones including the following:
Hay fever remedies
There are numerous medicines and other methods people can consider to treat allergies such as hay fever. During periods when the pollen outside is higher, it is best to avoid going outside as much as you can to reduce your chances of experiencing hay fever symptoms. This is not always realistic, however, but there are certain medications which can help counter the effects. Medicines for allergies include:
If you have a serious allergy that could prove fatal if provoked, you may want to be prescribed auto-injector adrenaline pens to carry with you in case of an emergency. Examples of such a treatment include Epipens.