Hay fever; from cause to treatment

Spring is coming again. This will be nice for many, finally warmer and better weather, but for many Dutch people hay fever is coming again. The pollen of grasses, trees and plants causes an allergic reaction, which often causes sneezing. What causes hay fever and how can you recognize whether you suffer from hay fever yourself?

What is hay fever?

Hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen from grasses, trees and plants. If these pollen get into the eye, the body’s immune system will react strongly to these harmless substances. It often makes you sneeze, sniffle, get a stuffy nose and cause problems with your eyes. Your eyes may feel burning and often itch and water. Hay fever can be hereditary. If your parents suffer from hay fever, there is a chance between 30 and 70 percent that you will also suffer from hay fever. Hay fever has nothing to do with hay or fever. That is why it is often referred to as a pollen allergy.
The fact that you mainly suffer from it in the spring is due to the amount of pollen in the air. Grasses, trees and plants produce a lot of pollen, especially on warmer and dry days, such as in spring and summer. The higher the pollen content of the air, the greater the chance that you will suffer from a pollen allergy. The weather is therefore important with hay fever. At a higher temperature, more pollen is produced. When there is a lot of wind, the pollen is spread more through the air. Rain, on the other hand, is a favorable weather factor for people who suffer from hay fever. The rain ‘washes’ the pollen to the ground, which reduces the pollen content in the air.

Cause

If you are allergic to pollen you can say that you suffer from hay fever. These pollens are actually the reproductive cells of grasses, trees and plants. These cells hang in the air, so people often come into contact with them. Hay fever can be caused by inheritance. If your father or mother suffers from hay fever, there is a good chance that you will also suffer from hay fever. It may also be the case that neither of your parents suffer from hay fever and you do. If you want to know whether you are predisposed to hay fever, you should visit your doctor. A blood test or a skin test can prove that you are allergic to pollen. Hay fever is by no means a unique condition. In the Netherlands, approximately 15 percent of the population suffers from it. This amounts to approximately two and a half million people.

Complaints & Symptoms

The complaints from the list below may differ in terms of strength of the complaint. You can also have a year with no hot days and a lot of rain, so you suffer less from hay fever. This does not mean that you have gotten rid of your hay fever or anything like that.
Possible signs and symptoms of hay fever are:

  • Frequent sneezing
  • Running nose
  • Itchy eyes and/or nose
  • Burning throat and/or eyes
  • Fatigue
  • Sneezing fits
  • Tearing eyes

 

Therapy

Even if you are one of the two and a half million Dutch people who suffer from hay fever, you would of course want to get rid of it. Medicines can be obtained from pharmacies without a prescription. This can be a nasal spray, eye drops or tablets against hay fever. And just like with any other condition, prevention is always better than cure.

Tips to prevent hay fever

  • Do not smoke
  • Vacuum often
  • Do not put fresh flowers in the house
  • Let the laundry dry indoors
  • Keep the windows closed as much as possible
  • Sufficient exercise
  • Healthy food
  • Do not smoke
  • Wear sunglasses outside to protect your eyes from the pollen
  • If you go for a walk or exercise, try to do this after a rain shower
  • Brush or comb your hair before going to sleep
  • After you’ve been outside, rinse your face with water