Your Body

Caution, hay fever!

Measures against hay fever

One of the most common forms of allergy is hay fever. Although the word suggests it, hay fever has nothing to do with hay, nor is it a real cold. Rather, it describes a hypersensitivity reaction to the surface structures of certain types of pollen. The term pollen allergy or pollinosis is therefore more correct.

Typical for a pollen allergy is the seasonal occurrence - when the plants to which you are allergic bloom. During this time, pollen allergy sufferers experience symptoms such as itching and burning of the eyes and nasal mucous membranes. Typical symptoms are also the secretion of thin secretions from the nose and severe sneezing attacks. Hay fever is not only annoying and unpleasant. If it is not treated in time, hay fever can develop into allergic asthma.

Today there are a variety of medicines for hay fever. Especially those active substances that are directed against the anti-inflammatory substance histamine have proven themselves. Although many of these drugs are available without a prescription in pharmacies, it is still worth going to an allergologist. This specialist can determine with a simple test against which pollen one is allergic and whether cross allergies exist. If you know the exact allergens, you can better adjust to them and try to avoid them.

 

8 tips for hay fever sufferers

First of all, have an allergologist determine which pollen you are allergic to. You can easily find out when the pollen are flying by predicting a pollen flight. During this time you should take the following into account:

  • Avoid extended stays outdoors.
  • If possible, keep the windows closed during sunny weather.
  • Ventilate especially when it is raining. The pollen will then be washed out of the air.
  • The windows in the car should also remain closed.
  • To prevent it from becoming too stuffy, car ventilation with a pollen filter is recommended.
  • If you have been outside during the pollen flight, you should take your clothes off outside the bedroom and shower before going to bed. Pollen will get stuck in your clothes and hair.
  • When planning your holiday, consider the pollen situation at your holiday destination during the travel season.
  • Do not eat honey as it may contain pollen.

Unfortunately, it is not always possible to avoid allergens. In this case there are medications that alleviate the symptoms of an allergy. In mild cases, nasal sprays and/or eye drops are often sufficient. In severe cases, preparations can help.

Medications for allergies are called antiallergics. They can be roughly divided into three active substance classes:

  • Antihistamines such as loratadine, cetirizine or fexofenadine reduce the effect of the messenger substance histamine, which plays an important role in allergies. Antihistamines are available as tablets, sachets, solutions or juice for ingestion. They are also available as eye drops, nasal sprays or ointments and gels for local use. While older antihistamines make you tired, this side effect is practically non-existent in the second generation.

  • Mast cell stabilizers, such as cromoglicic acid, stabilize the cell membrane of certain immune cells (mast cells) and thus prevent these cells from secreting histamine. Mast cell stabilizers are available without prescription as eye drops or nasal sprays. They are also used against food allergies in the form of tablets or granules.

  • Glucocorticoids such as beclometasone, mometasone or fluticasone have anti-inflammatory effects. Over-the-counter preparations are available as nasal sprays or ointments.

 

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