Frequently Asked Questions
An allergy is where your body responds to a substance. Allergens may not be harmful to your body, but sometimes your body still reacts.
Hay fever is usually worse between late March and September, especially when it’s warm, humid, and windy. This is when the pollen count is at its highest.
Hay fever is a form of seasonal allergies that are very common, especially in the summer months. The cause is not always known but is often related to pollen from certain grass and trees. You can view our UK pollen guide to help you get a better understanding of the foliage that might cause your hay fever to worsen.
You can treat hay fever with a variety of medication but home remedies for hay fever are sometimes proven to help too!
Your immune system reacts to certain molecules and this is a normal process. Sometimes your immune system can be over-sensitive and therefore it reacts to a molecule which isn’t necessarily harmful. Some allergic reactions aren’t severe; however, others can be life-threatening (anaphylaxis).
Symptoms of hay fever include:
- sneezing and coughing
- a runny or blocked nose
- itchy, red or watery eyes
- itchy throat, mouth, nose, and ears
- loss of smell
- pain around your temples and forehead
- feeling tired
Common allergens include:
- Tree and grass pollens
- House dust mite
- Insect bites/stings
- Food (commonly nuts)
When you’re allergic to something and you ingest or come in contact with it, a complex immune response is initiated. Sometimes the body can initiate an extreme reaction, causing loss of vital function control.
Hay fever is very unlikely to lead to this extreme reaction, for most it causes the unpleasant symptoms listed above.
The most severe allergies can be treated with immunotherapy, known as ‘desensitisation’. However, the most common allergies can be treated with medication known as antihistamines. There are a wide range of antihistamine tablets available, ranging from over-the-counter choices to stronger prescription medication.
Skin prick, blood and patch tests are the three most common forms for testing for allergies.
With skin prick tests, the allergen is mixed with a liquid and dropped onto the arm with an injection. If the area becomes itchy and red, it is positive for an allergic reaction.
Blood tests measure the amount of immune molecules present in your blood corresponding for a specific allergen. A high score means that your body is sensitive to that allergen.
Patch testing is used for skin allergies. A patch of an allergen is put onto the skin, and if a reaction occurs, you are positively allergic.
If you suffer from kidney or liver problems, have ever had heart disease, or are elderly you should see your GP before starting a course of treatment. Some hay fever treatment is not recommended during breast-feeding or in pregnancy.
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