Be prepared this allergy season. Rosemary's online doctors can help prescribe appropriate hay fever medication for you.
Hay fever is a term often used to describe a variety of allergies to outdoor allergens like pollen, grass and trees, indoor allergens like pet dander, dust and mould or irritants like cigarette smoke, exhaust and perfumes.
Hay fever can cause a range of symptoms including runny nose, itchy nose, sneezing, itchy eyes, watery eyes, itchy, irritative cough, nasal congestion, cloudy and fogginess.
This can be seasonal, particularly in the spring, summer or early fall, or perennial, meaning the symptoms are present year-round.
Allergies and hay fever can be treated and managed in a number of ways. One is lifestyle modification, where you identify what your triggers are and try to avoid them. You can also use medications to help reduce your body’s immune reaction and relieve symptoms. These medications may come in the form of antihistamines, nasal corticosteroids or eye drops. For more persistent allergies, your doctor may recommend immunotherapy.
If your allergy symptoms are severe, call an ambulance.
Most allergy sufferers will experience allergic reactions that are not serious or life-threatening. While on the milder side, they can still cause a significant impact on a person’s quality of life. On the other hand is anaphylaxis, a very severe allergic reaction that is life-threatening and can occur within minutes of exposure to allergens.
Common side effects will vary depending on which medication you are prescribed.
For nasal sprays and eye drops, common side effects can include: nosebleeds, distaste, irritation or burning sensation in the nose, headaches, dizziness, tiredness, increased amount of nasal discharge or discoloured nasal discharge, coughing, swelling of the face, lips, mouth, tongue or throat, difficulty breathing or swallowing, rashes, blurred vision, irritated eyes and swelling of the eyelids.
For lubricating eye drops, common side effects can include: eye irritation or pain, blurred vision, allergic reactions, headaches, drowsiness and dry mouth.
For antihistamines, common side effects can include: headaches, drowsiness or sedation, lethargy, dry mouth, diarrhoea, gastric upset, reduced appetite, blurred vision, disturbed coordination, sweating, palpitations, hypotension and urinary retention.
No, but you can control your symptoms. Some patients with persistent and chronic allergies may consider immunotherapy, which aims to reduce the severity of the allergic reaction.
Long-term daily use of medications has the potential to cause side effects. Your doctor will advise you on when and how to take your medication in order to manage your symptoms and to minimise any long-term complications.
No, allergies are not infectious.
Allergies can seemingly appear out of nowhere when you’ve been exposed to new allergens that you haven’t been exposed to before. Allergies can also surface due to crossing your individual threshold for an allergen. In these cases, the allergy always existed, you were just a) never exposed to it or b) in the case of allergenic thresholds, never exposed to enough of the allergen to provoke a reaction.
At the same time, allergies to things you weren’t previously allergic to can materialise at any point in your life, and it isn’t exactly clear why. It could be due to changes in your immune system, or perhaps a single severe allergic reaction during childhood increased your chances of developing allergies as an adult.