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Q&A: ABOUT HAY FEVER

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Do you suffer from a runny nose, nasal congestion, or stuffiness in the Fall?

Do you have itching of your eyes, roof of your mouth, or even in your nose, throat, or ears?

Then you may be suffering from seasonal allergic rhinitis which is also known as hay fever. The term “Hay Fever” was established in the 1700’s when the majority of farms were hay fields. People would have itchy eyes, sneezing, and runny nose from the hay fields creating the term Hay fever which we now use to describe our allergies. One of your symptoms could even include a sore throat which results from the postnasal drip. So, if you have these symptoms every Spring of Fall think twice because it most likely is not just a cold or virus.

Seasonal allergic rhinitis is very common. It is your body’s immune system defending itself against pollens, seasonal molds, grasses, trees, and weeds. You could be exposed to seasonal mold spores when raking leaves in the Fall. You can also be exposed to ragweed when outdoors August through September.

The first line of defense is the use of antihistamines such as Claritin, Allegra, Zyrtec, or Benadryl. The addition of a nasal corticosteroid such as Flonase, Rhinocort, or Nasonex may also be beneficial. These mediations may help control your symptoms but they do not offer long term relief. Long term treatment options include allergy injections or sublingual immunotherapy. Allergy injections offer long term benefits and can reduce the amount of daily medications needed to control your allergies. Sublingual immunotherapy is similar but include daily drops under your tongue which desensitizes you over time.