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The Causes and Symptoms of Hay Fever?

The Causes and Symptoms of Hay Fever?


Every year about one quarter of the people living in Western cultures will endure an annual bout of hay fever. This allergic reaction has been a part of human society for thousands of years and shows no sign of letting up. While almost all hay fever reactions are noticeable and annoying, they are rarely serious and can be treated when properly identified.

What Causes Hay Fever?

Essentially, hay fever is caused in individuals who have sensitive immune systems when they inhale small particles such as pollen, dust or animal dander. Because of the sensitivity of the immune system in certain individuals, the intruding elements are mistaken for a virus, bacteria or infection and the body’s defense systems are activated.

As a result, a person afflicted with hay fever will have many of the symptoms of a cold or virus, but not have the actual infection. The person will suffer from hay fever for a period of days or weeks, usually from new pollen that sweeps in from another part of the country. While upwards of 25% of people in Western societies will suffer from hay fever on an annual basis, almost 75% of people in their lifetimes will have at least one bout of hay fever.

What are the Symptoms of Hay Fever?

The symptoms of hay fever generally mimic that of a cold, virus or flu in certain ways, but one of the main differences is that there is no true fever associated with this allergic reaction. However, the body might experience a slight rise in temperature.

Common symptoms for hay fever include the following;

-        Excessive mucus

-        Sneezing

-        Nasal congestion

-        Itching

-        Swelling of the eyelids

-        Rings under the eyelids

-        Middle ear infection

-        Hives and Rashes

The breakout of hives and rashes only occurs with individuals who have a very sensitive immune system. However, one of the more interesting reactions is an indirect one that some people have because of the hay fever.

For example, a person who is allergic to a particular type of pollen might find themselves having an allergic reaction to the skin of potatoes or apples when they are consumed. This is because the proteins of the pollen are very similar to those found in potatoes and apples.  

Plus, there are certain disorders that are associated with hay fever as well which include the following;

-        Asthma

-        Eczema

-        Depression

The association between hay fever and the aforementioned conditions may be one of coincidence rather than of a direct nature. The vast majority of hay fever sufferers has no associated condition and will usually endure the symptoms in the presence of dust, animal dander or pollen.

One interesting thing is that while upwards of 25% people living in Western countries will suffer from hay fever on an annual basis, the numbers will fluctuate depending on the conditions to which they are exposed. In essence, a person who has moved to a new location may suffer from hay fever due to the local pollen, but the body may adjust and then not recognize the pollen as a threat.

Hay fever continues to be the subject of much study and treatment for millions of people.

 

 

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