Hay fever: the gift you didn’t expect this Christmas

Hay fever in winter

Hay fever: the gift you didn’t expect this Christmas

Merry Christmas! This year, many people will find hay fever in winter is their Christmas present. Most will mistake it for a common cold, but contrary to belief, hay fever in winter really does exist. An easy way to differentiate between hay fever or a virus is itchiness. If someone is experiencing itchiness in their eyes, throat, or ears, it’s likely that they have hay fever.

It’s vital for those who typically suffer from hay fever to understand the differences between hay fever and a cold. Especially because a majority of people with asthma also suffer from pollen allergies. Therefore, if they mistake their allergy for a cold, the aftermath can be very bad. Those with asthma need to pay attention to the early signs to deal with any possible asthma attacks.

Changing patterns of reactions to a variety of pollen is increasingly being reported around the world. Global warming, as well as the use of genetically modified plants, pose unexpected risks to allergy sufferers. Our colleague from Global Allergy Network, Professor Peter Schmid-Grendelmeier, University Hospital of Zurich, Switzerland reported an interesting observation regarding tree pollen allergies. They planted hybrid trees, and when they blossomed, many schoolchildren began to experience unusual allergy symptoms around Christmas time.

How can you slow your symptoms down?

Luckily, there are a few noteworthy medicines and practices that can help anyone suffering from hay fever in winter. Hay fever sufferers can opt to take antihistamines, or they can start immunotherapy. This is a method that progressively teaches the system not to react by using a specially manufactured allergen. Improvement usually starts after 4-5 month and eventually, after a few years, the immune system will tolerate the pollen and won’t send out signals that it is a strange foreign substance.

Hay fever is a nasty allergy to deal with every winter, spring, summer, or autumn – or all four seasons for the unlucky few. Thus, it is essential for all allergy sufferers to keep up to date with the earth’s changing climate and the research going into new diagnostic methods and treatment options.

For help and advice on hay fever or for more information on immunotherapy, please book an appointment with our consultants.

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