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What is hay fever?

Hay fever affects individuals who are allergic to pollen, dust, dander and more. Sometimes referred to as seasonal allergies, hay fever occurs when plants bloom and are pollinating. People who suffer from seasonal allergies typically experience symptoms from spring to fall.

What causes hay fever?

Hay fever is triggered by grass, tree, ragweed and weed pollens. It is estimated that between 40 and 60 million Americans suffer from hay fever. When your body is exposed to allergens and overreacts, hay fever symptoms occur. Some people suffer from perennial hay fever, which occurs year-round.

What are the symptoms of hay fever?

Hay fever symptoms may vary between people. However, common signs of hay fever include:
• Nasal congestion
• Cough
• Postnasal Drip
• Fatigue
• Sneezing

How is hay fever diagnosed?

If you think you may be suffering from hay fever, contact an allergist. He or she can take your medical history and recommend the best course of action to provide relief. Your doctor may recommend a skin prick test, where small amounts of allergens are pricked into your skin. If a raised bump, or hive, appears it means you are allergic to the material. Another option is an allergy blood test, where a laboratory measures your immune system’s reaction to allergens.

How is hay fever treated?

If possible, limit your exposure to allergens causing your hay fever symptoms. You can do this by keeping doors and windows shut and being aware of the pollen count outside. Over-the-counter medicine can be effective in relieving hay fever allergies that are not too severe. If symptoms are not manageable with over-the-counter medicine, your allergist may prescribe prescription medicine.