Are You Sure You've Got Hay
Allergic rhinitis, otherwise known as hay
fever, strikes about 7.8% of people in the US over the age of 18 years, and about 10%-30% of people worldwide. It
is an allergy to pollen and dust that causes itchy and inflamed mucous membranes of the eyes and nose. A runny nose
as well as watery eyes are a common manifestation of this irritating condition.
Hay fever itself is generally not
dangerous, but it can trigger allergic asthma if it continues untreated. Hay fever is commonly confused with other
conditions, so it is best to make a visit to your physician if you are unsure whether your symptoms are from hay
fever or something else.
The common cold is often hard to
distinguish from hay fever. Both can give similar symptoms. Sneezing, a runny nose, and coughing can all be caused
by both colds and hay fever.
They are brought on by different reasons,
however. Cold symptoms happen when your body launches an attack against an invading virus. Colds are contagious and
you can get them from being around others who have the virus, whereas allergies are not contagious and you cannot
“catch” allergies from another individual.
Hay fever is caused by an overactive
immune system which mistakes harmless substances such as pollen and dust to be germs, and then your body launches
an attack on them. If you are unsure whether your symptoms are caused by allergies or a cold, you may have to wait
it out and see. If the coughing, runny nose and sneezing persist beyond two weeks, then it is likely allergies and
not a cold that you are dealing with.
Hay fever may disappear with time as well,
but it generally takes longer, and can be seasonal. As long as you are in contact with the allergy trigger, then
you will continue to display symptoms.
Another way to distinguish between the two
is that a cold will not give you the symptom of itching. If you feel itchiness in your ears, nose, mouth or throat
then it is likely that you have allergies and not a cold. On the other hand, if you have aches and fever along with
your other symptoms, this is more likely a cold than hay fever.
Asthma is another condition that can
sometimes be confused with hay fever. Hay fever and asthma are completely different from one another, but are very
much linked and have an effect on each other, which determines how you should react if you have one of
When an individual has both of these, hay
fever will almost always make the asthma worse if it is not controlled properly, and it can bring on an asthma
attack. If you have hay fever, be sure to speak with a doctor in order to get the condition under control, so that
it will not cause or exacerbate other issues such as this.
Hay fever is common, and there are many
ways that a person can have it treated and bring it under control. The symptoms can be confused with various other
conditions, so do what you can to find out whether they are from hay fever or something else. With proper
treatment, you can make hay fever take a more minimal role in your everyday life.