Hay Fever - Davidson County Health Department

Davidson County
Health Department
Hay Fever
What is Hay Fever?
Hay Fever or allergic rhinitis is an allergic reaction involving the nose. The term Hay Fever was
used when persons harvesting hay noticed nasal congestion and sneezing. Fever does not
accompany this allergic reaction. Hay Fever can be seasonal and occurs during a certain time of
the year or it can be perennial meaning this allergic reaction occurs throughout the year. Hay
Fever can also be called Rhinosinusitis when there is inflammation in the nose and in the lining of
the sinuses. Hay Fever can lead to other diseases such as sinusitis and asthma. This allergic
reaction occurs when your immune system attacks a harmless substance that gains access to your
body making this an allergen. This causes a release of histamine and histamines cause an allergic
reaction in your body. Pollen is the most common substance that is recognized as an allergen.
Trees, weeds, and grass produce pollen that can travel on the wind and then inhaled.
What are the symptoms of Hay Fever?
 Nasal congestion
 Clear runny nose
 Sneezing
 Eyes itching
 Excess tear production
 Postnasal dripping of clear mucus causing a cough
 Occasionally a loss of a sense of smell and or taste
What are some of the allergens that cause persons to have the above symptoms?
 Ragweed pollen is the most common
 Tree pollen in the spring
 Grass pollen in the summer
 Weed pollen in the summer and fall
 Mold spores especially in rainy seasons, fungus spores late March through November
 Animal protein (dander)
 Dust mites
 Rarely food, but it is possible
When should my child or myself see the Medical Provider?
When symptoms cannot be managed by avoidance of the allergen and over the counter
medications, then a visit to your Medical Provider is in order. He/She may prescribe a
prescription steroid nasal spray and may suggest an everyday antihistamine that can be purchased
over the counter or by prescription. If allergies are moderate to severe, an allergist may be
recommended to pinpoint the exact substance you are allergic to.
How is Hay Fever treated?
 Avoidance of the allergen if possible
 Over the counter products such as antihistamines and or decongestants (use with caution
and with permission of Medical provider) or talk to your pharmacist
 Prescribed medications by your Medical provider or allergist
PO Box 439, Lexington, NC 27293
(336) 242-2300