Pollen allergy, also known as hay fever or seasonal allergic rhinitis, is a reaction of our immune system to certain proteins found in pollen grains.
In France, about 20% of the population suffers from this allergy and you may be one of them, based on your research.
In this article, we'll discuss pollen allergy symptoms , causes, treatments, and ways to prevent them.
You can also find a complete file on pollen allergy to return to a normal life.
What is pollen allergy?
Pollen allergy occurs when our body mistakenly considers these particles as substances dangerous to our health.
Our immune system then produces antibodies to fight these "invaders", which causes inflammatory reactions and various symptoms.
There are several types of pollen responsible for allergies:
- Tree pollen: birch, oak, ash, alder, hazel, etc.
- Grass pollen: the different species of grasses that can cause allergies, such as bluegrass, timothy, ryegrass, etc.
- Pollen from herbaceous plants: ragweed , sorrel, mugwort, etc.
What are the main symptoms of pollen allergy?
Symptoms of pollen allergy can vary from person to person and depend on the type of pollen involved.
However, certain signs are commonly observed in people suffering from this allergy.
Allergic rhinitisAllergic rhinitis is the main symptom of pollen allergy. It is characterized by inflammation of the nasal mucous membranes, causing various manifestations such as:
- Repeated and sudden sneezing
- Stuffy or runny nose (clear runny nose)
- Itching in the nose
- Decreased sense of smell
Pollen allergy can also cause allergic conjunctivitis, which is inflammation of the conjunctiva (membrane covering the inside of the eyelids and the white part of the eye).
- Red and watery eyes
- Itchy and irritated eyes
- Burning or foreign body sensation in the eyes
- Swollen eyelids
Some patients with seasonal allergies may develop a general feeling of fatigue and malaise, called asthenia.
This symptom may be due to chronic inflammation caused by exposure to pollen, as well as sleep disruption caused by breathing difficulties.
In some cases, pollen allergy can cause itching and redness on the skin.
These symptoms are often localized around the eyes, nose and mouth.
How to diagnose a pollen allergy?
If you have symptoms of pollen allergy, it is important to consult a doctor for an accurate diagnosis.
The practitioner will perform a clinical examination and ask questions about your medical history and symptoms.
He can also perform skin or blood tests to determine precisely the type of pollen responsible for your allergy.
You may also have a cold, find our dedicated article to distinguish if you have an allergy or a cold .
What treatments to relieve the symptoms of pollen allergy?There are different treatments to alleviate the symptoms of pollen allergy:
- Antihistamines , in the form of tablets, drops, nasal sprays or eye drops, help block the action of histamine, a substance released by our body during an allergic reaction.
- Corticosteroids , prescribed for moderate to severe symptoms, help reduce inflammation and allergic manifestations. They can be given as a nasal spray, eye drops or, in some cases, orally.
- Decongestants and anticholinergics can also be used to relieve stuffy nose and runny nose.
- In case of severe allergy, specific immunotherapy (desensitization) may be proposed. This approach consists in administering increasing doses of the responsible allergen to the patient, in order to gradually modify the immune response and reduce the intensity of the symptoms.
How to prevent the symptoms of pollen allergy?Living with a pollen allergy involves adopting certain measures to limit your exposure to allergens:
- Learn about pollination times and monitor pollen bulletins.
- Encourage natural ventilation by regularly opening the windows, but avoid doing so when the pollen count is high.
- Limit outdoor activities during peak pollination.
- Wear sunglasses to protect eyes from contact with pollen.
- Wash hands and face regularly to remove pollen particles.
- Clean the house regularly and use an air purifier to reduce the concentration of allergens in the environment.
- Wear an anti-pollution mask that protects against pollen if you are outdoors.
We hope that after reading this article, you are not convinced that you are allergic to pollen. If you have a symptom of the pollen allergy described above, appropriate care and regular medical monitoring will prevent complications and improve the quality of your daily life.