Hayfever is a common problem usually encountered in the spring and early summer. It is part of the group of health conditions known as allergic rhinitis – allergies to airborne substances, which lead to inflammation in the lining of the nose, throat and eyes.
What is Hayfever?
In the main, hayfever refers to an allergy to pollen. If one is allergic to animals or house dust, this is referred to by doctors as ‘allergic rhinitis’. However, the terms ‘hayfever’ and ‘allergic rhinitis’ are often used interchangeably.
It has been estimated that up to 20% of people in the UK and other industrialised Western countries suffer from hayfever. People prone to the condition tend to develop the problem during their teenage years and, although the condition lessens in severity with age, it can linger well into late adulthood.
Hayfever is associated with two other health conditions, eczema and asthma, in what doctors term the ‘atopic triad’. Someone suffering from one of these conditions is more likely to develop one or both of the others. Atopy, or this type of allergic tendency, can also run in families.
What causes Hayfever?
Hayfever is caused by an abnormal (or allergic) reaction of the body to pollen coming into contact with the nose, eyes or throat. The body’s immune system reacts to this usually ‘harmless’ substance as it thinks that, for some reason, it is ‘harmful’ – as if the body were being attacked by a potent virus.
As the immune system over-reacts, it releases large amounts of a chemical known as histamine. This causes itching, inflammation and irritation in the local tissue. Why the immune systems of people with hayfever over-react in this way is not known.
Hayfever can be treated using a wide variety of methods including:
- Nasal spray eye drops for irritated eyes– these help to soothe the tissues, helping to wash away pollen
- Herbal and homeopathic medicines
Best Remedies include :