Symptoms And Risk Factors Of Hay Fever
Hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis, is a common condition affecting millions worldwide. It is caused by an allergic reaction to pollen and other airborne allergens, which can cause a range of symptoms that can be uncomfortable and disruptive.
Symptoms of Hay Fever
The symptoms of hay fever can vary from person to person, but they typically include the following:
Sneezing is one of the most common symptoms of hay fever. It is caused by the irritation of the nasal passages by airborne allergens.
Runny or stuffy nose
Hay fever can cause a runny or stuffy nose, making breathing difficult. This is caused by the inflammation of the nasal passages.
Itchy or watery eyes
The eyes can become red, itchy, and watery due to hay fever. This is caused by the irritation of the conjunctiva, which is the thin membrane that covers the white part of the eye.
Hay fever can cause an itchy or scratchy throat, which can be uncomfortable.
Coughing is a common symptom of hay fever, especially in children. It is caused by postnasal drip, the accumulation of mucus in the throat.
Hay fever can cause fatigue due to the body’s immune response to allergens, which can be tiring.
Headaches are a common hay fever symptom, especially in people with chronic sinusitis. This is caused by the inflammation of the sinuses.
Causes of Hay Fever
Hay fever is caused by an allergic reaction to pollen and other airborne allergens. When these allergens enter the body, the immune system produces antibodies that attack them, causing the release of histamines and other chemicals that cause hay fever symptoms.
Pollen is the most common airborne allergen that causes hay fever. It is produced by trees, grasses, and weeds and released into the air during spring and summer. Other airborne allergens that can cause hay fever include mold spores, dust mites, and pet dander.
Risk Factors for Hay Fever
Certain factors can increase the risk of developing hay fever, including:
- Family history: Hay fever is more common in people with a family allergy history.
- Age: Hay fever is more common in children and young adults, although it can occur at any age.
- Gender: Hay fever is more common in men than in women.
- Geographic location: Hay fever is more common in areas with high pollen counts, such as rural areas with lots of trees and grasses.
- Exposure to allergens: Exposure to allergens, such as pollen and dust, can increase the risk of developing hay fever.
- Smoking: Smoking can increase the risk of developing hay fever, irritating the nasal passages and weakening the immune system.
- Other allergies: People with other allergies, such as food or asthma, are more likely to develop hay fever.
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