Allergies Hayfever Treatment Options

Hay fever can make you feel like you are always battling a cold or the flu. After months or years of feeling like this, you are probably ready to find some hay fever relief with hay fever treatment. Fortunately, there are many effective hay fever treatments to treat the symptoms of this seasonal allergy.

The First Step in Hay Fever Treatment: Finding Your Triggers

If you don’t know what your hay fever triggers are, the best way to find out is to visit an allergist for testing. You will receive a simple skin test. The allergist will place allergens on your skin and note any reactions.

If you are unable to receive a skin test due to a skin condition or the interference of medication, a blood test is available. An allergist will test your blood against different allergens to detect its sensitivity.

Making Lifestyle Changes to Avoid Triggers

To decrease your hay fever symptoms, one of the easiest ways is to make lifestyle adjustments to avoid your triggers.

  • Animal dander can be a problem if you are allergic to your pets. Have your pets bathed regularly and invest in a HEPA filtration unit to help with removing dander particles.
  • Avoid pollen by keeping windows closed, planting low-pollen-producing plants, and staying indoors during the times when pollen counts are high.
  • Cockroach debris can be a trigger; you can avoid it by having pest control eliminate cockroaches with fumigation.
  • Dust and dust mites are difficult to avoid, but with regular cleaning and placing plastic protectors on pillows and mattresses, you can decrease their presence in your home.
  • Keep tobacco smoke outside of the home.
  • Mold is another common trigger; use a humidifier and if you like, have your home checked for mold problems.

Hay Fever Treatment with Medication

If the elimination of triggers is not possible or effective enough to give you hay fever relief, you may have to talk to your doctor about medication. Medication will not help your body stop reacting to allergens, but it will help alleviate some of the reactions you experience from the allergy. Figuring out the best medication for you depends on the hay fever symptoms you experience.

  • Antihistamines block the chemical histamine, which your body produces in response to an allergen. Histamine is what makes your nose itchy and runny and your eyes red and watery. Blocking the histamine means relieving these symptoms.
  • Decongestants decrease the swelling of membranes in your nose. This will help you breathe easier and release some of the mucous in your throat that causes you to cough. It can also help relieve chest congestion.
  • Some hay fever sufferers prefer nasal sprays. Cortisone nasal sprays decrease the inflammation in your nose to reduce runny nose and sneezing. Corticosteroids, cromolyn and ipratropium are three types of nasal sprays for hay fever relief.
  • Hay fever immunotherapy, or an allergy desensitization program, is a hay fever treatment in which you receive injections of allergens that trigger your symptoms. This is the only hay fever treatment that attacks the root of the problem instead of just masking the symptoms. By receiving increasing amounts of your allergens, your body forms immunity to them. You will receive an injection each week for four to six months. Once your body is able to handle a high dosage of the allergen, you will only need a booster once a month for at least three years.

Hay fever immunotherapy is up to 80 percent effective at reducing hay fever symptoms. The benefits of the desensitization program can last up to three years after the last booster. You may need to undergo the series of injections throughout your life to continue your immunity against your hay fever triggers.

Resources

Allergy Capital. (2003). Treating allergies with immunotherapy. Retrieved March 14, 2009, from the Allergy Capital Web site http://www.allergycapital.com.au/Pages/immth.html.

Jones, M. (2006). Immunotherapy: Treatment for hay fever. Retrieved March 14, 2009, from the myDr.com.au Web site http://www.mydr.com.au/allergy/immunotherapy-treatment-for-hayfever.

Mayo Clinic. (2008). Hay fever. Retrieved March 14, 2009, from the Mayo Clinic Web site http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hay-fever/DS00174.

Stoppler, Melissa (n.d.). Hay fever (allergic rhinitis). Retrieved March 14, 2009, from the Medicine Net Web site http://www.medicinenet.com/hay_fever/article.htm.