The symptoms of pollen allergy also known as hay fever often appear from the eyes and nose. Your eyes may itch, water and become red. Your nose might get blocked, start to run and itch, and frequent sneezing is suddenly a normal part of your day. Other symptoms may include headaches, fatigue, insomnia and a general malaise.
Some people have mild symptoms that do not affect their everyday lives, but for others, the condition is more severe and consequently they may experience a reduced quality of life. For these people, it is time to strike back.
"Many people suffer unnecessarily during the pollen season, for there are several ways to reduce the impacts of allergy through simple measures and treatment," says allergy expert at ALK Jørgen Nedergaard Larsen.
Avoidance can help you some of the way
One way to fight pollen allergy is by trying to avoid or limit the exposure to pollen, and here, there are many situations where it is possible to implement small changes that can help reduce the contact with pollen significantly.
You can mow your lawn while it is wet with dew. Use a dryer to dry your laundry. Drive with closed windows and use a pollen filter in your car. Wear sunglasses when you go for a bike ride. Keep the windows closed while pollen counts are high. Stay inside as much as possible. Check pollen counts and make plans accordingly. Avoid furry animals which can carry pollen and wash your hair and change clothes when you get home after being out.
Diagnosis and treatment can control your hay fever
If you are not yet diagnosed with pollen allergy and your symptoms have a significant impact on your life, you should consult your doctor. The doctor will likely ask about the history of your symptoms and conduct a skin prick test that can show if you have hay fever. This is an important step in your fight against the pollen allergy symptoms because the allergy can be controlled and there are many treatments available from your doctor that can help you in doing that.
“We often see how the right treatment can make a huge difference in the patients’ quality of life, which calls for diagnosis and identification of prober treatment. Furthermore if allergic rhinitis is left untreated, it is considered a risk factor in the development of asthma,” says Jørgen Nedergaard Larsen.
You have different treatment options
There are several options for treating your hay fever, ranging from over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription symptomatic medicines, to more long-term treatments like allergy immunotherapy. Both symptomatic and immunotherapy treatments have shown to provide relief and end the discomfort and the sensation of feeling ill, but there are some differences between the treatments:
Symptomatic treatments reduce the allergy symptoms while taking the medicine, but there is no long-lasting effect because they do not induce tolerance like allergy immunotherapy. Most symptomatic treatments are available over-the-counter (OTC), e.g. in supermarkets or pharmacies, and can include treatments such as antihistamines, inhaled steroids and decongestants.
Allergy immunotherapy treatment has a long-term effect with sustained improvement, also during the years following treatment, because, unlike symptomatic treatments, it induces tolerance and alters the natural course of the disease.