Hay fever symptoms vary in severity and your symptoms may be worse some years than others, depending on the weather conditions and the pollen count (see below).
Hay fever is formally known as seasonal allergic rhinitis and can present many different symptoms, including ones shared with other ailments. It occurs as a response to allergens such as pollen, which then get into the throat, eyes and nose.
Hay fever is a common allergic disease, with anywhere from 15 to 20 percent of the population suffering from hay fever. Symptoms can range from mild to severe, which means that many people may put off going to see a doctor with the thought that symptoms are simply too mild to warrant attention.
Left untreated, however, hay fever symptoms can worsen and may also impact a person’s work, home and family life. Hay fever causes a range of symptoms but these tend to be centred in the upper respiratory tract and facial area. Inflammation and painful irritation around the nose, throat and eyes often occurs.
Hay fever tends to appear during the pre-adolescent years and may peak during the twenties and thirties, before easing or disappearing. Some of the common symptoms of hay fever include:
- Runny nose
- Itchy bloodshot eyes
- Stuffed up nose
- Itching around the face and mouth
- Blocked sensation in ears
- Burning in the throat
An overall achy feeling, or pressure in the entire face area can occur, with the sinus area being most painful. Constant nose rubbing and blowing can also leave a person with skin irritation and sensitivity.
Hay fever is generally a seasonal condition, affecting people mostly during the spring and summer months. Most people will notice a pattern of occurrence that begins in the spring months, peaks during the summer and fades as autumn approaches.
Hay fever may occur daily, or intermittently, but its presence can lead to missed days off work, irritability, depression and anxiety. This is due, not only to the pain and discomfort from the symptoms themselves, but also from the social anxiety related to a runny nose, bloodshot eyes and facial redness.
Hay fever sufferers often cite self-consciousness as a major issue related to hay fever and these symptoms can lead to the anxiety, withdrawal and depression.
Perennial allergic rhinitis, unlike seasonal allergic rhinitis, occurs year round. The majority of people who suffer from hay fever, however, will find they have the seasonal variety.
Those who do suffer from hay fever year round tend to be sensitive to allergens that aren’t exclusive to the summer and spring months. These include dust mites and pets.
For most people, symptoms of hay fever can be prevented or treated. Unfortunately, symptoms may go ignored, particularly when they are mild, but their continual presence can still subtly affect how a person functions each day.
Those who experience severe symptoms may find that the constant irritation and discomfort compromises their ability to function at work, school or socially.
If you have been suffering from hay fever symptoms, don’t ignore them. Instead, see your doctor as he or she can accurately determine if you do indeed have hay fever, and will also offer over-the-counter or prescription drugs, as well as suggestions to prevent or naturally treat hay fever.
The sooner you obtain medical advice, the sooner you can relieve your symptoms and get back to a life free from the pain and irritation of hay fever.