Hay fever is a common condition that affects close to 18 million Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In fact, allergic rhinitis is the fifth most common disease in the United States. In the medical term, hay fever is known as allergic rhinitis or nasal allergies. The hay fever can be seasonal, perennial (year-long), or occupational. This allergic rhinitis refers to irritation or inflammation of the nasal mucosa.
Hay fever is a type of inflammation in the nose which occurs when the immune system overreacts to allergens in the air. Some common and usual signs and symptoms include a runny or stuffy nose; sneezing; congestion; sinus pressure; red, itchy, and watery eyes; and swelling around the eyes. The fluid from the nose is usually clear.
Hay fever is caused by an allergic response to airborne substances, such as pollen. The time of year it happens depends on what substance or allergen the person reacts to. Despite its name, hay fever does not mean that the person is allergic to hay and has a fever. Hay is hardly ever an allergen, and fever is not a symptom.
SOME FREQUENT SYMPTOMS OF HAY FEVER
Sneezing is your body’s way of removing irritants from your nose or throat. A sneeze is a powerful, involuntary expulsion of air. Sneezing often happens suddenly and without warning. Another name for sneezing is sternutation. While this symptom can be quite annoying, it’s not usually the result of any serious health problem. Part of your nose’s job is to clean the air you breathe, making sure it’s free of dirt and bacteria.
In most cases, your nose traps this dirt and bacteria in your nasal mucosa. Your stomach then digests the mucus, which neutralizes any potentially harmful invaders. Sometimes, however, dirt and debris can enter your nose and irritate the sensitive mucous membranes inside your nose and throat.
When these membranes become irritated, it causes you to sneeze. Sneezing can be triggered by a variety of things, including: allergens; viruses, such as the common cold or flu; nasal irritants; inhalation of corticosteroids through a nasal spray; and some due drug withdrawals.