The symptoms of hayfever can vary from year to year. One spring you might find yourself suffering from a sore head and runny nose, the next summer you might have irritated eyes and a cough. Some years, you might not get any symptoms at all. Here, our hayfever advisor Louise Baillie describes the symptoms of hayfever and the people most at risk of developing the condition.
caused by an allergic (or abnormally strong) response to pollen coming
from grass, flowers and trees. It is sometimes descriptively referred to
as ‘pollinosis’ – inflammation due to pollen.
Hayfever is part of
the group of conditions known to doctors as allergic rhinitis, which
can be defined as allergies to airborne substances causing inflammation
in the nose (rhinitis) and also the eyes and throat.
Symptoms of hayfever are extremely variable. One can be very troubled one spring and experience little or no symptoms the next year. Symptoms may also vary from one month to another for no apparent reason. Of course, the weather can be responsible for some of this fluctuation.
Another factor is the type of pollen one is allergic to:
Tree pollen tends to affect people in spring
Grass pollen affects people in late spring and summer
Weed pollen can be found at high levels in late summer and autumn
People suffering from hayfever can also display allergies to animals (animal fur, hair or dander) and dust mites. In addition, they will also have a greater tendency to suffer from asthma and eczema.
People suffering from hayfever over-react to the presence of pollen settling on the tissues of the nose, throat and eyes. An inflammatory reaction is triggered and histamine is released. In the main, histamine is responsible for the symptoms of hayfever:
When hayfever is severe, other symptoms can develop including:
Headaches and other pains in the face – this occurs when inflammation blocks the openings of sinuses, leading to an increase in pressure inside sinuses
Loss of smell or taste – when inflammation affects the top of the nasal passages, the nerves giving us our sense of smell become ‘blocked’ and work less efficiently. This is the same situation as when we lose our sense of smell when suffering from a cold.
Dry cough – this occurs when inflammation of the respiratory tract begins to irritate your throat.
In general, hayfever symptoms are not life-threatening. But they can be very debilitating and may affect your lifestyle severely. Someone with hayfever tends to stay indoors when the weather is good, unable to enjoy the sunny, dry days of summer.
Join today for lots of simple energy-boosting tips and advice from our nutritionist Emma and her team of experts sent to you over 6 days to help revitalise your energy levels, as well as a sample of our Balance Mineral Drink which is packed with energy-boosting minerals.
What you eat can have a dramatic effect on your hayfever symptoms. While anti-inflammatory and natural anti-histamine foods can help control your symptoms, foods containing dairy and foods rich in sugar can actually make them worse.