If you have mild symptoms, try an over-the-counter (OTC) medication.
You can buy antihistamines, decongestants, eye drops, and nasal sprays at
Follow the directions. For children under 2 years old, call your doctor.
Antihistamines may help relieve congestion, sneezing, and runny nose.
Decongestants may help relieve sinus symptoms and improve breathing.
Eye drops may help relieve itchy eyes.
Nasal sprays may help you breathe easier. It may take 3 to 10 days before
you see results.
If OTC medications do not improve your symptoms, see a doctor.
Your doctor may take tests to see what allergens are causing the hay fever
Treatment may depend on what you are allergic to.
Treatment may include prescription antihistamines, eye drops, or nasal sprays.
Common kinds include Allegra, Claritin, Zyrtec, Flonase, Nasonex, and Beconase.
Treatment may include allergy shots. Over time, the shots help your body
become less sensitive to the allergen that is causing your symptoms. You may
have to get the shots for as long as 6 months to 2 years.
Under a doctor's care, using steroids for a short period of time also may
help reduce symptoms.
How long does it last?
Symptoms depend on the cause but generally last a few weeks or months.
Symptoms often improve with age.
Can it be prevented?
You cannot prevent having hay fever but you can avoid things that trigger
During allergy season, keep your house and car windows closed. Use air conditioning
Use an air filter at home.
Use a dehumidifier at home to take the humidity out of the air. (Humidity
helps mold grow.)
Stay indoors during the pollen season if possible.
Wear a pollen mask to mow the lawn or while cleaning the house.
Getting rid of houseplants may help some people avoid symptoms.
Symptoms triggered by pet dander may be avoided by not keeping a pet at
Limiting pets at home to certain areas of the house and keeping them out
of the bedroom is recommended.
Keep your house clean, especially during the pollen season (to avoid pollen
and mold). Clean damp areas often, using chlorine bleach solution.
Cover your mattress and box spring with a dust proof cover.
Wash pillows, sheets, and blankets in hot water.
Irritants in the air can make hay fever symptoms worse. It may help to avoid
cigarette smoke, perfume, aerosol sprays, smoke, and smog.
Do not smoke.
When should I call the doctor?
Call the doctor if OTC medications do not improve your symptoms.
Call the doctor if you have questions or concerns about your treatment or
Hay fever is a common condition in the United States that is triggered by
an allergic reaction.
The allergy can be triggered by pollen, mold, dust mites, and pet dander.
Anyone can get hay fever at any time in his life.
Symptoms include runny nose, congestion, sneezing, watery eyes, itchy eyes,
itchy throat, cough, and difficulty breathing.
Hay fever is not contagious.
The best treatment is prevention. Over-the-counter medications or prescription
medications may help ease symptoms.
Symptoms often improve with age.
Avoid allergens by cleaning your house and limiting outdoor activities when
your symptoms are usually worst.
Call the doctor if you have hay fever symptoms that are not relieved by
MayoClinic. What is Hay Fever? 2001 July 19 (cited 2002 April 4). URL: http://www.mayoclinic.com/findinformation/conditioncenters/invoke.cfm?objectid=C2A35B55-EA1F-41EF-92ADF2386BF8EF8A
MedicineNet. Chronic Rhinitis and Post-Nasal Drip. 1998 July 13 (cited 2002
April 4). URL: http://www.focusonallergies-asthma.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=6725&rd=1
National Jewish Medical and Research Center. Allergic and Non-Allergic Rhinitis.
Medfacts. 2001 (cited 2002 April 4). URL: http://www.njc.org/medfacts/allergic_rhinitis.html
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