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hay fever symptomsHay fever (allergic rhinitis) is a tricky condition for a couple of reasons: its name is misleading and it shares symptoms with the common cold.

Hay fever does not result in a fever, and it isn’t caused by hay. The condition is actually an allergic reaction to certain airborne allergens. Hay fever symptoms include:

  • Itching in the nose, roof of the mouth, throat, and/or eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Stuffy nose (congestion)
  • Runny nose
  • Dark circles under the eyes (allergic shiners)
  • Teary eyes

Sounds a lot like the common cold, doesn’t it? So, how can you tell if you have allergies or a cold? If you are allergic to seasonal allergens, your symptoms will show up around the same time every year, and they will likely last more than two weeks. A cold typically lasts for about one week and sometimes includes a fever.

The best way to determine whether or not you have hay fever is to visit your allergist. Dr. Langford can perform skin tests to determine what is causing your allergies. Then, we will develop a treatment plan for you.

What Causes Hay Fever?

Hay fever is caused by indoor and outdoor allergens such as

  • Pollen
  • Pet dander
  • Mold
  • Dust mites
  • Cockroach particles
  • Ragweed

Treating Hay Fever Symptoms

Once you know what triggers your hay fever, the best treatment is to avoid those triggers. However, if you are allergic to outdoor allergens like pollen, avoidance isn’t a practical treatment.

Over-the-counter decongestants or antihistamines can offer relief, as can several prescription medications and nasal sprays.

Allergy shots (immunotherapy) are an effective treatment for hay fever. This long-term treatment introduces small amounts of the allergen to your body over a long period of time—often several years—with the goal of building immunity to the allergen.

To diagnose and begin treatment for your hay fever, schedule an appointment with Dr. Langford today!