What are Allergies?

An allergy is something that your body rejects as it believes it is harmful to you. These are often called Allergens. Allergies are most common in children, but adults can also experience them. It’s not always clear why people are impacted by allergies, people can be either born with it, or it can develop over the years. Research has shown that some people can outgrow the allergies and don’t experience any further issues but others are only manageable if treated for life.

Allergies are not always life threatening but more of a nuisance to everyday life. If they are identified and treated appropriately they can become very manageable.

The most common types of allergies are

  • Pollen
  • Skin
  • Food
  • Drugs
  • Mould/Dust

What is Hay Fever?

Hay fever is when someone has an adverse reaction to certain allergens. This can either be Pollen, Dust Mites or Pet fur. It is also known as Allergic Rhinitis.

When they come into contact with the above they will then experience cold like symptoms just without the temperature.

There are 3 types of pollen-

  • Tree Pollen
  • Grass Pollen
  • Weed Pollen

There are certain months within the year that people can be affected by the different types of pollen. E.G you are more likely to be affected by grass pollen in the summer months May-July. This is when you are less likely to see someone who suffers from grass pollen quite badly out and about.

Everyone can experience different symptom’s for Hay fever but the more popular symptoms are, Sneezing, itchy eyes, blocked nose, rash, headache, tiredness, runny nose and itchy nose.

The history of Hay Fever

A doctor from Liverpool called John Bostock is credited with first identifying Hay fever in 1819 in his study presented to The Medical Society. It is thought that the case study was in fact based on himself.

John Bostock went on to lecture at Guys hospital and later worked with Richard Bright and Thomas Addison on their well published theories regarding the kidneys.

Over the years many more articles have been published on the subject. A good place to start for further reading would be www.thelancet.com

How to prevent Hay Fever

There are simple measures that you can put in place to try and prevent Hay Fever that will make your everyday living more manageable.

The most used methods:

  • Avoid going out when the pollen count is high
  • Clean your bed sheets regular on a high temperature to kill any unwanted mites
  • Dust and hoover regularly
  • If indoors keep the windows closed when the pollen count is high
  • Try to avoid keeping fresh flowers in the house
  • Try to keep a diary of when your most affected so you can try and work out the pattern of what may trigger your symptoms more than others

Most people find that if they try and stick to the above their symptoms will be quite mild and less detrimental to their everyday living.

Diagnosis of Allergies

If you think you have developed an allergy you should either speak to your local pharmacist or doctor. They would be able to offer you advice on how to treat the allergy going forward.

If your symptoms are obvious to a certain allergy, they would offer you the relevant treatment. But if it’s not too obvious they would refer you to certain tests. These could be:

  • Skin prick test. This would involve a small insertion into the skin with a small drop of a certain substance e.g. pollen. You would then be monitored for around twenty minutes afterwards to see if you had any reaction this could be either a rash or red blotchy skin.
  • A blood test. This would test specifically for antibodies which help fight against the allergies.

It is advised that you seek a medical profession rather than self-diagnosis.

How to treat Hay Fever

One in 4 people in the UK are known to suffer from Hay fever and treatment would all depend of the severity of a person’s allergies.

If someone was to suffer quite mildly with the symptoms they could possibly get away with taking small precautions as mentioned above. So, keeping the windows closed, washing clothes/bedding regular. But if all these measures are put into place and the person is still suffering badly which is affecting their daily lifestyle they would possibly look at pharmacy treatments.

These could either be antihistamine drugs E.g

  • Cetirizine
  • Loratadine
  • Fexofenadine
  • Promethazine Hydrochloride
  • Chlorphenamine

These help to treat and reduce symptoms which you may be having.  They are not necessary the first choice for some people as some of the above can have potential side effects (with the most common being tiredness). These medications can be easily sourced from your doctors or purchased from your local Pharmacy.

Nasal Sprays are also very popular. There are different types available

  • Beclometasone
  • Fluticasone
  • Mometasone

These all work in a very similar way which is to reduce the effects of the histamine. It reduces the swelling that the hay fever causes and stops the itching. It is very fast at treating the source of the issue and can often be used as the first port of call for the treatment of hay fever.

Over the years as more research has been made into Allergies more treatments have become available to purchase. They include nasal prongs. This consists of a prong being inserted into each nostril that uses a light beam which is set to a certain frequency which would then treat the reaction. This method can be quite expensive to use and time consuming but does not have any side effects making it very appealing. As this treatment is fairly new it is not as popular as the others.

Also new to the market which is proving popular with the younger generation is a Humidifier/Dehumidifier. This is often used at home or a workplace indoors to improve the quality of the air around us.

If after reading this and you still need more information regarding Hay Fever please consult your local pharmacy for further advice. I’ve heard Medicine drop is the best around!

@medicine.drop

[email protected]

This news blog was written on behalf of Medicine Drop. The views in this blog are that of the authors and you should not take the information as factual without speaking to your GP or Pharmacist for health advice.