Hay fever and asthma are two common diseases that affect the respiratory tract. Both conditions pose a significant afflict to patients. Moreover, allergies and asthma sometimes happen at the same time. There are many trigger attacks for asthma, and while most people are well-aware of these, they may not always be able to control or avoid them.
Hay Fever and Asthma
Allergic rhinitis, commonly known as hay fever, is a group of symptoms affecting the upper airways. Hay fever affects nearly 18 million Americans. Some people, however, are misled by the name. You don’t have to be exposed to hay to have symptoms, and hay fever has nothing to do with regular fever or causes symptoms of fever.
Allergic rhinitis is common in all age groups, and it affects an estimated 10-20% of the total population worldwide. According to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI), almost 8% of residents of the United States experience allergic rhinitis.
An allergen is a harmless substance that causes an allergic reaction. Pollen is the most common allergen in seasonal allergic rhinitis.
Hay fever develops when your body’s immune system perceives and triggers something from the environment. Moreover, it may pose a greater risk of an asthma attack. Studies claim that 80% of people with asthma say that their asthma symptoms come from hay fever triggers.
This hay fever asthma attack happens when hay fever causes your inflamed airways to swell up, leaving you breathless. It can also inflame and sensitize your airways as it reacts further to triggers.
Characteristics of Asthma and Allergic Rhinitis
Asthma is an inflammatory disease characterized by wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, and coughing associated with the lower airways. However, these symptoms vary in terms of severity and frequency. The symptoms react to known triggers, such as exposure to an allergen, and are often worse during the night or sometimes early in the morning.
Allergic rhinitis is similar to inflammatory diseases but only affects the upper airways. Its symptoms include nasal itch, nasal obstruction, rhinorrhoea, and sneezing, which occurs in response to allergic stimulants. Allergic rhinitis’ symptoms can be mild to moderate-severe, and it happens seasonally or all year round in response to pollen, dust mite, or pet allergen.
When Does Hay Fever Season Start?
Pollen and pollution are the usual triggers for hay fever-related asthma, and many people find their symptoms worsen in spring, which is combined with the onset of hay fever. People may start to experience hay fever as pollen is released from grass and blooming flowers, and it can happen as early as February. In the United Kingdom, there are many florae that people who have asthma are sensitive to even though they don’t have a reaction to other allergens.
In the US, our shifting weather condition means it is hard to find out or predict when the pollen season begins. However, keep in mind that grass pollen is the most common cause of hay fever as it triggers 95% of the population. It typically affects people during May, June, and July.
Management and Treatment
The best way to prevent hay fever-related asthma is to manage allergies before your body even recognizes the substances. Aside from getting your prescriptions at Buzz Rx, you may also consider the following tips to control hay fever-related asthma.
- Stay indoors when pollen counts are high. They are at their peak during the midmorning and early evening, especially when the wind is blowing pollen all over.
- Wear sunglasses or glasses when outdoors to lessen the amount of pollen that might irritate your eyes.
- Consult your doctor about taking allergy medication. Usually, there are a variety of options depending on the severity and frequency of your symptoms- from nasal sprays and allergy shots to antihistamines. Speak with your doctor to get the right prescription and make sure you stick to it.
- Keep your windows and doors closed as much as possible during allergy season. Make your room or environment as allergy-proof as possible. It is better you take off your shoe at the door, remove clutter that collects dust, use a vacuum cleaner with a high-efficiency air filter, and utilize hot water to wash beddings. Hot water kills dust mites. Also, avoid exposure to smoke.
- If you are allergic to animals, keep your pet outside as much as possible. However, if you must keep the pet inside, make sure that you keep it out of your bedroom to prevent yourself from being exposed to pet allergens, especially while you are sleeping.
- Frequently replace the carpets from your bedroom if you are concerned about dust mites.
Asthma and allergic rhinitis are the two most common respiratory conditions that are closely related. Most patients with asthma can also experience the symptoms of hay fever, so health professionals assess allergy symptoms at the onset of the asthma review.
Poor asthma and hay fever control can pose a significant risk to one’s health and can even result in death. However, hay fever-related asthma conditions can be managed properly with the right prevention measures and prescription. Educating oneself is highly critical to a successful hay fever-related asthma management plan.