What is Hayfever or Allergic Rhinitis?
Hay fever or Allergic Rhinitis is an allergic reaction to dust, pollen, house dust mite faeces or spores. It causes the white blood cells particularly the Mast cells to produce inflammation mediators like Histamines. These chemicals causes the inside of the nose to become swollen and inflamed.
There are two types of Hayfever Rhiinitis:
Seasonal: which mainly occurs at certain times of the year in response to such things as pollen
Perennial: which tends to occur through the year and is usually due to exposure to the allergen like house dust mite faeces throughout the year.
When am I likely to Suffer the most?
Hay fever affects people mostly during the spring and summer months when the pollen count is high however some people do suffer with hay fever all year round.
Around 20% of the UK population suffer from hay fever. If there is a family history of hay fever, eczema or asthma then you are more likely to suffer with hay fever yourself.
Signs and Symptoms of Hayfever
The chemicals released by the Mast Cells cause vasodilation and increased vascular permeability resulting in excess mucus secretion, itchiness, sneezing, runny eyes and nose and nasal congestion.
- Itchy, runny, red and sore eyes
- A runny nose
The symptoms cause tiredness, sleeplessness, difficulty in breathing and lack of concentration.
These neutralise some of the chemicals produced by the Mast cells thereby relieving the symptoms.
The older generation of Antihistamines like Chlorphenirmine (branded as Piriton) cause drowsiness and need to be taken three times a day whilst the newer ones like Loratidine and Cetirizine are less likely to cause drowsiness and only need to be taken once daily.
The medication is available in Tablet, liquid or eye drop formulations:
- Cetirizine Tabs
- Chlorphenirmine Tabs
These are available in nasal formulations over the counter and also in tablet formulation on Prescription. They usually take about 3 days before their beneficial effects are felt and act mainly by reducing the inflammatory effects caused by bodies inflammatory mediators.
They are ideal for perennial Rhinitis and moderate to severe seasonal allergic rhinitis.
- Beclomethasone Aqueous nasal Spray
Decongestions like Pseudoephedrine reduce mucal secretions relieving the symptoms of congestion and clearing the nasal passages making breathing easier.
They should not be used for long periods (usually over 3 days) as the body becomes tolerant to them causing the same dose to have a lesser effect and long periods also cause the body to become dependent on them such that discontinuation results in a rebound surge in mucal secretion falsely making the patient think that the hay fever has got worse.
- Pseudoephedrine Products
These are usually made of natural volatile essential oils. These make the mucal secretions thin and runny allowing it to drain and clear the airways. Excessive secretions of thick and viscous mucus causes blockage and also acts as a media for secondary bacterial and viral infection.
- Menthol and Eucalyptus Inhalation
- Vantage Vaporub
- Menthol Crystals