Hay fever is an allergic response to airborne allergens. It affects the eyes, nose, sinuses, throat, and bronchial tubes in the lungs. Seasonal pollens cause the attacks. Recovery occurs when the pollens disappear at the end of the season.
Causes of Hay Fever
The pollens are substances that interact with the immune system. They are referred to as antigens. Following sensitization of the immune system to the antigen, repeated encounters leads to the release of a chemical called histamine. Histamine produces swelling and irritation in sensitive areas (nose, sinuses, eyes). Airborne allergens include pollen from weeds, flowers, grasses and trees, mold, dust, mites, tobacco smoke and other air pollutants.
Signs and Symptoms of Hay Fever
Hay fever produces itching, watery eyes and frequent sneezing. Stuffy nose with a clear discharge, itching in the roof of the mouth, wheezing (sometimes), and burning in the throat are also common symptoms.
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Medical Content Last Updated on 07/12/2008
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