We can be allergic to food, chemicals or airborne pollens. The latter is called hay fever. The technical term is allergic “rhinitis” because “rhinitis” literally means “irritation of the nose.”
What is hay fever?
For those of us who have hay fever, we are allergic to pollens of specific seasonal plants, airborne chemicals and dust particles. Hay fever is characterized by sneezing, runny nose and itching eyes.
- Dry powdery pollens which are suspended in the atmosphere and get transmitted by wind are normally responsible for hay fever. It’s called hay fever because it is most prevalent during haying season. As its name suggests “hay fever” does not involve fever nor is hay its causative factor. Nonetheless, its early symptoms like sneezing, nasal congestion, and eye irritation are also caused while harvesting, hence this name.
- Hay fever (allergic rhinitis) is common and can lead to other diseases in complicated cases. Though many modes of treatment are available for rhinitis, it is better to identify the allergy causing pollen and stay away from it.
Rhinitis is normally caused by the proteins present in pollen of weeds and trees.
- Though pollen grains are too small and are invisible they can be potent triggers of allergy. Pollen when inhaled gets deposited in the mucus membranes of nose and other parts of the respiratory tract, which could harm an allergic person.
- Pollen grains from plants that are pollinated by bees generally do not cause us problems because they don’t get airborne.
Keep pollen out of your home
- Leave your shoes at the door to avoid tracking in pollen;
- Shower at night so you don’t bring pollen to bed;
- Buy a good air-filtering system, and change or wash the filter at least once a month;
- Keep doors and windows closed; and don’t hang clothes outside to dry or air out.
- Seven more indoor tips for avoiding pollen allergies
- Do spring cleaning (and fall cleaning during “haying” season). Dust can collect in the vents, on windowsills and in corners.
- Stay indoors to avoid pollen. When counts are high stay indoors, peak times are between 10am and 4pm. Wear a filter mask when mowing the lawn or gardening.
- Take any prescribed allergy medications at least 30 minutes before going outdoors.
- Wash your hair at night before bed so that the pollen that has collected during the day doesn’t settle in the sheets.
- Wash towels and bedding every week in hot water.
- Keep pets that have been outside off the furniture, especially your bed.
- Use the air conditioning instead of opening windows at home and in the car.
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