allergic response to an allergen in the air. Hay fever
affects the eyes, nose, sinuses, throat and bronchial
tubes in the lungs. The name is confusing since hay does
not cause an allergic reaction and there is no fever.
Attacks flare up in pollen season.
Itching, watery eyes
» Frequent sneezing; stuffy nose with a clear discharge
» Itching in the roof of the mouth
» Wheezing (sometimes)
» Burning in the throat
» The body's immune system produces antibodies that release
a chemical called histamine.
Histamine in turn produces swelling and irritation in
certain areas (nose, sinuses, eyes).
» Allergens in the air that cause an allergic sensitivity
include: Pollen (from weeds, flowers,
grasses, and trees) mold, dust mites, tobacco smoke, and
» Having other allergic reactions, such as eczema or asthma.
» Spring and Autumn. Most plants produce pollen during
» Family history of allergies
» Weak immune system due to drugs or illness.
is no way to prevent having allergies. You can take steps
to help prevent having symptoms. Symptoms can be controlled
with treatment, but the condition persists over a lifetime.
It is usally more troublesome than disabling.
Difficulty sleeping and chronic fatigue
» Increased risk for other infections
Diagnosis & Treatment
Your health care provider will do a physical exam and
ask questions about your symptoms. Medical tests such
as blood and allergy skin tests may be recommended, but
are usually not required for diagnosis.
» Try to remove as many allergens in your home or the
surrounding property area as possible.
» Prepare your bedroom as follows:
» Empty the room of furniture, rugs or carpet, and drapes
» Clean the walls, woodwork, and floors with a damp mop.
» Wax the floor.
» Cover box springs, mattress, and pillows with plastic
» Use bedclothes that can be washed often.
» Don't use chenille bedspreads, quilts, or comforters.
» Use throw rugs that can be washed easily.
» Use wood or plastic chairs, not stuffed chairs.
» Use window shades or blinds, not drapes/curtains.
» Use a vacuum cleaner, damp rags, and a damp or oiled
mop to clean the bedroom once a week
Other Preventative Measures:
» Keep windows and doors closed, where possible.
» Don't handle objects that are very dusty, such as books
or stored clothing.
» Don't keep stuffed animals or toys in the house.
» Remove all pets (except fish) from the house.
» Wear a filter facemask during exposure to allergens,
including during housecleaning.
» Install an air-purification unit in your home's heating
and air-conditioning system, preferably a high-efficiency
particulate (HEPA) filter.
» Drive an air-conditioned car.
» Have someone else mow the lawn.
» To reduce the body's allergic response, you may be prescribed:
Antihistamines; decongestants; cortisone eye drops or
nasal spray; cortisone tablets (severe cases only); cromolyn
nasal spray; or cromolyn nose drops. These medications
relieve symptoms, but they don't cure hay fever.
» Desensitization injections for known allergens for severe
or year-round cases. Once allergens are known (through
skin or blood tests), small amounts are injected over
a period of time. This helps block the immune system from
releasing the histamine. This process may take months
or years for effective results. No limits.
» Avoid areas with known allergens.
our office if:
or a family member has severe symptoms of hay fever that
are interfering with normal activities
Stephen W., M.D. Griffith's Instructions For Patients,
Seventh Edition, Elsevier Saunders, Philadelphia, PA,