What is Hayfever?
Allergic rhinitis, commonly known as hayfever is an allergic reaction to pollen. Hayfever is a common condition that affects roughly 20% of people in the UK. Hayfever is commonly experienced during childhood years and in some cases it does go as people get older but in other cases in remains. In some instances, people of older age can develop it without having suffered from the condition at a younger age. Some of the symptoms include itchy eyes, runny nose, itchy ear and throat, tiredness and wheezing.
You will most likely exhibit the aforementioned symptoms during most allergic reactions to animal fur, washing powder, make-up etc.. These types of reactions are driven by the overproduction of a chemical in the body called ‘histamine’. Histamine is produced in cells known as mast cells. Mast cells hold onto the histamine and will only release histamine to regulate certain responses in the body, however during allergic reactions, the body sends a signal to mast cells when you are exposed to whatever it is you are allergic to, to release high levels of histamine. Histamine then causes the reactions mentioned (runny nose, itchy eyes etc..).
What causes Hayfever?
Hayfever is caused by the body being over sensitive to pollen. The pollen, which is at its highest levels during the summer, triggers the mast cells to release histamine in the body leading to the symptoms associated with hayfever. Some people can tolerate certain types of pollen and are intolerant only to certain strains, this can be identified by carrying out patch tests. The majority of people in the UK (around 90%) are allergic to grass pollen, which is very hard to avoid during the summer due to it being grass cutting season. Other types of pollen are tree pollen and weed pollen.
It is not very clear as to why people are allergic to pollen, whilst other people are not. There are some risk factors that might make the immune system more likely to exert it’s effects by causing mast cells to release histamine. Some risk factors are a family history, asthma and lack of exposure to the outdoors as a child.
How Can I Treat Hayfever?
In an ideal world the best way to avoid any allergy or hayfever is to avoid the allergen itself. The allergen being pollen in the case of hayfever. However short of never leaving your home and sealing any potential gaps in doors and windows, this would be near impossible. In order to combat the effects of histamine, you can purchase tablets, nose sprays and eye drops from Cloud Pharmacy.
The medications used for treating allergy and hayfever work by either stopping the mast cell releasing histamine altogether or by reducing the overall effects of histamine in the body by binding to it before it binds to any internal tissue, leading to the allergic reaction.