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What is hayfever?
Hayfever is a common condition in which people are allergic to plant pollens. The main groups of pollens are from trees, grasses and weeds. You may be allergic to one or more of these pollen groups.
Hayfever is more common in those who have a personal or family history of certain conditions such as asthma, eczema or hayfever.
When does it tend to happen?
Tree pollen is released during spring time, grass pollen peaks at the end of spring and into early summer, with weed pollen being more common in late autumn. Most people with hayfever are allergic to grass pollens.
Pollen levels are actually higher at night - during the day, warm air rises taking pollen with it. As air cools overnight, this pollen returns to ground level, explaining why some people are more troubled overnight and first thing in the morning.
What do people experience?
The parts of your body exposed to pollen are those that become troublesome, explaining why sufferers experience problems with red watery and itchy eyes, blocked and runny noses, sneezing, a dry cough, itchy roof of mouth and throat.
With these symptoms, it is common to experience poor sleep, daytime fatigue, reduced quality of life, poor smell and taste, worsening of asthma and more frequent ear infections in children.
What can I do about it?
Basic measures are to limit your exposure to pollens that you know are likely to trigger your hay fever. A healthy diet, drinking less alcohol and getting good sleep will all decrease your body’s reaction to pollen.
Medications can be obtained over the counter (eye drops, nose sprays and antihistamine tablets), but many more effective medications are prescription only. For severe cases, some types of nose surgery and immunotherapy can be very helpful.
What tests are there?
The two main tests for hay fever are a skin prick allergy test - a small amount of different pollens are placed on your skin and the amount of reaction measured. Any allergy treatments will need to be stopped for a short period before this test so as to not interfere with the results. This is not currently offered at OSD Healthcare.
Alternatively, a blood test (RAST IgE) test can be taken so show the amount of allergy antibodies in your blood for certain substances. This can take place here at OSD Healthcare.
What can OSD offer me?
At OSD we offer specialists in General Practice, ENT Surgery and Chest Medicine who can help you with your troublesome hay fever.
(Mr Adam Shakir, ENT Consultant, March 2021, firstname.lastname@example.org)