Keeping A Record Of Your Symptoms
Keep a diary that describes your symptoms and when and where they occur. Your diary could include information about whether your symptoms occur:
- inside your home, outside or both
- for a short time or longer
- at night, during the day or when you wake up
- at a particular time of the year
- near animals
- after you have been stung or bitten by an insect
- after you have had a particular food or drink
- after you have taken a particular medication, either prescription or over the counter from a pharmacy or supermarket
- after you have taken a herbal medicine.
Can Hayfever Make Asthma Worse
Hay fever is the common name for allergic rhinitis. It is an allergic reaction to allergens, or triggers in the air like pollens or grasses, dust mites, mould or animal dander, breathed in through the nose. This causes an immune response in the lining of the nose where the nasal passages become red, swollen, and sensitive. Some people may experience hay fever at certain times of the year, for example, spring or summer, and other people experience these symptoms all year round.
Difference Between Asthma And Hay Fever
Medically the differences between hay fever and asthma are quite large, with hay fever being an autoimmune disease and asthma being a chronic condition affecting the airways in the lungs.
Commonly known as allergic rhinitis, hay fever develops when the bodys immune system recognizes and overreacts to something in the environment that would otherwise cause no problems.
Asthma is a lung condition that affects people of all ages. It will often start in childhood, although it can also develop for the first time during adulthood. It will often cause breathing difficulties if symptoms arent kept under control.
If youre suffering from hay fever asthma symptoms you may notice that symptoms are similar to regular asthma but are more intense and exaggerated.
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Is Hay Fever Linked To Asthma
Hay fever and asthma arent necessarily linked to one another, but they can affect one another. Any hay fever asthma symptoms will more than likely be made worse during summer and spring.
At least half of all people who suffer from hay fever also have asthma. This is why its important that a management plan is put into place with a regular inhaler, ensuring that its used regularly during the hay fever season.
It cant always be avoided though, with some people experiencing hay fever causing asthma symptoms in October-November. Thunderstorms during this period cause gusts of wind to carry ryegrass pollen in the air and are more likely to elicit allergic rhinitis symptoms and in turn trigger asthma.
Ryegrass is a type of grass that was native to Europe but was eventually introduced all around the world. Its now valued as lawn, hay, and agricultural grass and is one of the most common causes of hay fever affecting asthma.
How Do Doctors Diagnose Allergic Rhinitis
When someone could have allergic rhinitis, doctors consider symptoms, find out about the persons everyday surroundings and activities, do a physical examination, check asthma control and check for allergies.
Tell your doctor:
- When your symptoms started and whether they have become better or worse over time
- Whether you usually have symptoms at particular times of the year
- If anything or any places seem to make symptoms better or worse
- If you have any known allergic conditions and whether family members have allergies
- If you have tried any medicines, such as overthe-counter nasal sprays or tablets, and whether they made a difference.
Your doctor may:
- Measure how well your lungs are working, using a spirometer, or arrange for you to have this test. If you normally test your own lungs using a peak flow meter each day, bring your results.
- Offer allergy tests either skin-prick tests or blood tests or arrange for you to have these tests done by a specialist. Other methods that claim to test for allergy are not useful tests and should not be used.
- Suggest that you try using a nasal spray for a few weeks and come back.
- Refer you to an allergy specialist or an ear, nose and throat surgeon.
You may need to see a specialist if you have any symptoms that are not typical of allergic rhinitis, such as long-term sinus problems, polyps in the nose, pain, loss of hearing or sense of smell, persistent cough, or if only one nostril is always blocked or bleeding.
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What You Can Do To Keep Safe
- During spring and early summer, use a corticosteroid nasal spray . Start at the beginning of September and continue to the end of December.
- Keep taking your preventer medication as prescribed. If you don’t normally use a preventer all year, you should use it during September-December if you are going to be in an area where there is ryegrass pollen.
- Follow the pollen counts and weather forecasts during spring and summer so you know if a storm is coming.
- Make sure your written asthma action plan is up to date and includes thunderstorm advice – talk to your GP
- Avoid being outdoors just before and during thunderstorms, especially in cold wind gusts that come before the rain. Get inside a building or car with the windows shut and the air conditioner switched to recirculate/recycled.
Hay Fever Can Make Asthma Worse And More Difficult To Control
The reason that the presence of allergic rhinitis can make asthma more difficult to control is not entirely clear. It has been suggested that breathing through your mouth when your nose is blocked can worsen asthma by bypassing the noses filtering and humidifying function. Another thought is that nasal inflammation can trigger or set off the lower airways or lungs inflammation, sensitivity, and narrowing. People with asthma who have hay fever experience:
- More asthma flare-ups
- More visits to their GP and have more asthma-related hospitalisations
- More time off work or school
- Higher yearly medical costs 2,3,4
Research shows treating hay fever can reduce asthma-related emergency department visits and hospitalisations, and may help to improve your asthma symptoms. It is important to treat and manage both your asthma and allergic rhinitis to feel well.
TIPS FOR PEOPLE WITH HAY FEVER
If you have allergic rhinitis and asthma, treating your allergic rhinitis will help keep your asthma under control.
- Know the symptoms of hay fever and asthma
- Have the right plan and medications in place to best handle your symptoms
- Check you are using your asthma and allergic rhinitis medications correctly
HOW TO TREAT YOUR HAY FEVER SYMPTOMS
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Getting The Most From Your Nasal Spray
If you take any type of nasal spray, read the manufacturers instructions carefully and follow the directions to make sure you get the most benefit.
Ask your pharmacist or doctor to explain anything you dont understand.
Our website also has videos showing how to use nasal sprays correctly.
What to do
- Follow the manufacturers instructions.
- Shake the bottle before each use.
- Clear any mucus from your nose by blowing gently, or use a saline rinse or spray then wait 10 minutes before using your medication spray.
- Lean your head forward and put the nozzle into your nostril gently, without pushing it in hard.
- Point the spray bottle away from the wall that divides your nostrils . At the same time, point it inwards towards the moist part of the inside of your nose.
- Spray once into your nostril, then repeat the steps for your other nostril.
- After using the spray, wipe the tip with a dry tissue, and put the cap back on.
- Tilt your head back while spraying
- Push the nozzle too hard or far into your nose
- Blow your nose hard after spraying
- Sniff hard after spraying
- Use a saline rinse straight after using the medicine. If you use saline, use it before your other medicines, and wait at least half an hour before using saline again.
For Children With Allergies And Asthma In School
For asthma prevention at school when your child has allergies and childhood asthma:
- Discuss their allergies and asthma with school personnel.
- If your child has food allergies, discuss them with school officials, teachers, and lunchroom staff.
- Educate your child about their allergies and asthma early, so your child can learn to avoid situations where they may eat food that will trigger an allergic reaction. Arrange for an epinephrine kit to be left at the school, and make sure school officials are able to use it correctly and without hesitation should symptoms arise.
- Inform school personnel about the asthma treatments your child is taking, and make arrangements to leave necessary medication at school.
- Encourage sports participation, but inform coaches of medicines that may need to be taken before activities to prevent exercise-induced asthma.
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Causes Of Symptoms According To Louise Hay
Causes of symptoms according to Louise Hay is a good place to start if you are looking for healing. Illness however mild or severe is an indicator of your emotional state, caused by your thoughts and focus.
I first came across this concept about 11 years ago when i read You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay. I found this book while in the depths of depression and it turned my life around in the next few years. In this book Louise outlines the causes of physical symptoms and the affirmations one must repeat to heal the illness.
Why it didnt work for me: Louise Hays book was instrumental in helping me understand that our thoughts create our life experiences, and that the key to true happiness is self love. She focuses on loving yourself, as once you love you, everything you want will flow to you naturally. The world begins to love you. I did follow the affirmations religiously for about 5 years, and they did have positive results in my life. For example i was able to increase my deserve-ability considerably, which lead to a better paid job and better relationships.
Reduce The Risk Of Hay Fever Triggering An Asthma Attack
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How Is Hay Fever Treated
Hay fever can make allergic asthma harder to control.
Conversely, effectively treating hay fever may reduce the chance of severe asthma attacks and make the lungs work better.
Current treatments for both hay fever and allergic asthma have a similar mode of action: limiting the bodys response to allergy triggers.
In the first instance, hay fever symptoms can be treated with over-the-counter antihistamines. Ask your pharmacist about non-sedating varieties.
If antihistamines dont provide relief, the next treatment is corticosteroids. These are effective against all allergic conditions, including hay fever and asthma.
Corticosteroids are administered as a nasal spray for hay fever and via an inhaler for asthma. Unlike the steroids used for performance enhancement or bodybuilding, these medicines are non-addictive and long-term use doesnt have any major side-effects.
Corticosteroid nasal sprays are available over the counter at pharmacies and can be taken before hay fever symptoms arise.
The final option for controlling hay fever is immunotherapy . Specific immunotherapy involves the injection of increasing doses of an allergen extract. Like corticosteroids, immunotherapy is also effective against asthma.
Immunotherapy is effective, but not a quick fix. It usually takes months to show any benefits and requires a long course of routine injections, so it can be quite expensive.
A distinct disadvantage is its cost: it can be up to three times the cost of injections.
Diagnosing A Hay Fever Cough
When you have an infection, the mucus in your body starts to thicken due to the presence of a virus or bacteria. The type of mucus youre producing can help your doctor tell the difference between a hay fever cough and an infection. If you have thin mucus, as opposed to thick mucus that is difficult to cough up, allergies are usually to blame.
Your doctor will likely ask you about your symptoms as well as what makes them worse or better and when you started noticing them.
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Perennial Hay Fever Allergens
Allergens often associated with perennial hay fever include:
- pet dander
- the excrement, saliva, and shells of dust mites
- spores from indoor mold and fungus
- chemical irritants in cleaning products, such as laundry detergents
- chemicals found in scented products, especially sprays and aerosol products
- off-gasses from materials such as rubber, canvas, and leather
- air pollution, such as car exhaust
Also, the excrement, saliva, and shells of cockroaches are highly common allergens. An estimated 63 percent of households in the United States contain cockroach allergens. In urban areas, the rates can reach 98 percent.
A 2015 study found that roughly 18 percent of children aged under 17 in the U.S. have been diagnosed with hay fever, especially in southwestern and southeastern states.
If a primary care doctor suspects that a person has hay fever, they will usually refer the person to an allergist, a doctor who specializes in allergies.
An allergist will ask questions about lifestyle habits, home and work environments, medical history, and symptoms, then perform a physical exam of the nose and throat.
Pollen Can Trigger Asthma
Pollen can directly trigger asthma and allergic rhinitis. Small particles of allergens can penetrate deep into the airways of the lung. Thunderstorms can also contribute to this:
- When pollen granules come into contact with water, starch granules are released that are small enough to be breathed into the airways, causing allergic rhinitis and asthma in some people
- People who wheeze during spring and/or summer, should see their doctor for advice.
Pollen seasons can last for months
In Australia pollen numbers are lower on the east coast where most winds come from the sea, and where there is protection from westerly winds by the Great Dividing Range. Pollen numbers are higher on the Victorian south coast because most winds are from the north carrying pollen from the northerly grasslands. In South Australia and Western Australia, the amount of pollen can vary according to the wind.
Pollination times vary with the plant variety and its location.
The principal grasses growing in the northern coastal areas are subtropical and mainly flower in January, February and March. Allergenic grasses in the southern part of Australia are mostly Northern hemisphere grasses, with the main flowering period from October to December.
Diagnosis is important
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What Do I Do If I Have Allergies And Asthma
If you have allergies and asthma, avoid the substance you are allergic to. Here are some tips to help you avoid some of the most common allergens and prevent asthma attack symptoms.
- Encase pillows, mattresses, and box springs with allergen-proof, zippered covers.
- Wash all bedding in hot water once a week.
- Noncarpeted flooring is best. If you cannot get rid of your carpeting, vacuum often with an HEPA filter. Wear a mask while vacuuming. If your child has asthma, do not vacuum while they are in the room. Products that eliminate dust mites from carpeting can be purchased. Your asthma care provider can give you information about these products.
- Avoid curtains and drapes. Use plain window shades instead of mini-blinds. Washable curtains should be washed in hot water every 2 to 4 weeks.
- Dust all surfaces with a damp cloth often, including lampshades and windowsills.
- Keep clutter under control. Toys and books should be stored in enclosed bookshelves, drawers or closets.
- Replace traditional stuffed animals with washable stuffed animals.
- Keep all clothing in drawers and closets. Keep drawers and closets closed.
- Cover air ducts with filters. Change these when soiled.
- Pillows and bedding should not contain feathers.
- Keep indoor humidity low . Use a dehumidifier if needed.
- Regularly change filters on heaters and air conditioners.
Mold and mildew
You can lessen your or your child’s exposure to pollen by:
How Long Does Hay Fever Last
Hay fever usually lasts for a few weeks or even months, rather than a few days- which most of the cold sufferers think of.
Since the main cause of getting hay fever is allergies, studies clear that as long as you are exposed to the allergens, it becomes very tough for you to relieve from the symptoms of hay fever.
Most people learn to live with their hay fever as they cannot find any proper and permanent solution for it.
As it can be a long term problem for many, experts suggest that it is good to rely on natural remedies rather than taking harmful medicines which may show certain side effects if taken for long.
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Other Things You Can Do
Saline rinses: Your doctor may recommend that you use a salt water solution daily to help clear your nose and soothe the lining of the nose. Syringes and rinse bottles are available from pharmacies.
Avoid smoke: People with allergic rhinitis should not smoke and should avoid other peoples cigarette smoke. Smoking makes asthma and rhinitis worse, and can prevent medicines from working properly. Bushfires and wood smoke may also worsen allergic rhinitis and asthma.
Avoid allergens: Your doctor can help you work out which allergens trigger your allergic rhinitis and asthma. Try to avoid your allergy triggers if you can. See Avoiding allergens for tips.
If medication does not clear a badly blocked nose, doctors may occasionally recommend a surgical operation called turbinate reduction. Surgery is not a cure for rhinitis, but may help with symptoms in severe cases.
Before taking any medication for allergic rhinitis, you should tell your doctor or pharmacist if:
- you have any other medical conditions or are pregnant
- you are taking any other medicines
- you have been experiencing nose bleeds.