Common pollens that can cause significant hay fever include:
- Grass pollen in the summertime
- Ragweed pollen in the fall
- Mountain Cedar pollen in the winter and spring
- Runny Nose
- Itchy Eyes
- Post Nasal Drip
- Dark Circles Under Eyes
- Recurrent Sinus Infections
- Sore Throats
- Trouble Smelling and Tasting
Avoidance of the causes of hay fever can often be the best way to prevent symptoms. There is essentially no cost, no medication side effects, and is theoretically curative for hay fever. However, avoidance of airborne pollens is difficult, at best. Simply opening a window or door, or walking outside, results in pollen exposure. So unless you want to live in a bubble, avoiding pollen is pretty difficult.
Most people with hay fever will require the use of medications in order to treat their symptoms. There are numerous medications available to treat hay fever, and there is no single best medicine for all people. The best medicine to treat a person’s hay fever is dependent upon various factors, such as the severity and frequency of hay fever symptoms, the types of hay fever symptoms, the form of medicine a person is willing to take (such as a pill, eye drop or nasal spray), and the side effects that may occur from taking the medication.
When avoidance and medications fail to adequately control hay fever symptoms, immunotherapy is often recommended. Immunotherapy consists of a series of injections containing small amounts of the substances to which a person is allergic. After a course of allergy shots, most people have significantly fewer hay fever symptoms, and in some cases symptoms resolve completely. While immunotherapy is typically given in the form of allergy shots in the United States, allergy drops (sublingual immunotherapy) are more frequently used in other parts of the world, although the Food and Drug Administration has not yet approved them for use in the U.S.over-the-counter options, to prescription drugs, to alternative remedies, including the use of neti pots/saline washes, eating local honey, and acupuncture.
Immunotherapy is the only treatment for hay fever that changes how a person’s immune system reacts to allergies, and is the only therapy that can make a person less allergic -- however, success is not guaranteed. Given the wide variety of treatment options available, almost everyone can find a treatment that will help them get through the allergy season.
Learn how pollen counts can help predict hay fever symptoms.
Wallace DV, Dykewicz MS. The Diagnosis and Management of Rhinitis: An Updated Practice Parameter. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2008;122:S1-84.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this site is for educational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for personal care by a licensed physician. Please see your physician for diagnosis and treatment of any concerning symptoms or medical condition.