September 26, 2011
In this week's What's Going Around, we're taking a look at hay fever. Dr. Louisa Hann of Blue Ridge Internal Medicine this week says allergic rhinitis or hay fever is going around.
Symptoms include stuffy/runny nose, itchy mouth/throat/ears, sneezing, itchy, red or watery eyes, fatigue and partial loss of hearing, smell or taste.
Hay fever typically affects 20 percent of the population and most people first develop symptoms in childhood. It can stick around for a season or it can last the entire year.
The severity of hay fever just depends on the cause, like the pollen counts of weeds, trees and grasses or dust, household mites or indoor mold allergies.
Dr. Hann suggests treating hay fever with a nasal steroid spray, or oral non-drowsy antihistamines, decongestants or eye drops. However, different treatments may be needed for different symptoms.
When it comes to preventing hay fever you can reduce symptoms by avoiding triggers. For example, during days when airborne allergens are high stay indoors and close the windows.
Dr. Hann has an important health reminder for people who are prone to life-threatening allergic reactions and need to carry around an epinephrine auto-injector. She encourages those people to make sure medication is renewed yearly so that it does not expire.