CAUSES – When harmless inhaled pollen or other allergens invade your body, you immune system views them as dangerous substances. By protecting itself, your immune system will flood your bloodstream with histamine. Once this happens, a chain of events will occur, such as sneezing to expel the allergen.
TREATMENT – Taken regularly and over a long period of time, antihistamines, such as chlorpheniramine or diphenhydramine can control mild cases of hay fever. During an acute attack and to unblock the nasal passages, you can take phenylephrine and pseudoephedrine, which are decongestants. To prevent the lining of the nasal passages from reaching to the allergen affecting you, your doctor may prescribe cromolyn, which is a spray. Also, a corticosteroid nasal spray for severe cases is beclomethasone.
PREVENTION – The best ways to combat hay fever are:
- Follow the treatment recommendations of your health care provider. The medications are very effective but may take several days to reach full effectiveness.
- Try to limit outside exposure during hay fever season.
- Allergy shots may be recommended to help reduce the severity of your symptoms.
- To eliminate allergens indoors, try to keep your home free of mold and other allergens.