You have al­ler­gic rhini­tis

The Jewish Chronicle - - Life/food -

RHINI­TIS IS a con­di­tion where some­thing makes the in­side of your nose in­flamed, caus­ing sneez­ing, itch­i­ness and a per­sis­tent runny nose. The ef­fect on the nasal pas­sages can also cause symp­toms in the si­nuses and the eyes.

It is a very com­mon con­di­tion af­fect­ing at least one in five of us, and can be caused by var­i­ous dif­fer­ent al­ler­gens, such as pollen, an­i­mal fur or dust. Rhini­tis caused by pollen is also known as hay fever, and this tends to be sea­sonal.

Hay fever af­fects al­most a quar­ter of the UK pop­u­la­tion. For most suf­fer­ers, it is a mi­nor ir­ri­ta­tion but for some, the symp­toms can be so se­vere they are forced to take time off work.

The pollen count pre­dic­tion put out by the Met Of­fice is in­tended to give hay fever suf­fer­ers an in­di­ca­tion of what they might ex­pect their symp­toms to be on any given day, al­low­ing them to take ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tion. It de­scribes the num­ber of pollen par­ti­cles in one square me­tre of air — un­der 30 is low, more than 50 is high.

Most peo­ple find their hay fever symp­toms start at a pollen count of 50 or more, so if that is pre­dicted you need to have your treat­ment with you. In any given day the pollen count rises to a peak in the early evening.

Some 90 per cent of peo­ple with hay fever are al­ler­gic to grass pollen and this causes hay fever be­tween May and July.

About a quar­ter of suf­fer­ers are al­ler­gic to tree pollen, nor­mally birch and oak, which causes early hay fever from March to May.

You can also have hay fever in the au­tumn from late flow­er­ing plants and from the spores of fungi such as wild mush­rooms. Avoid­ing pollen is the essence of hay fever preven­tion. This is not al­ways prac­ti­cal, ob­vi­ously. Non­med­i­cal treat­ments for hay fever, such as saline nose sprays and Hay­max, op­er­ate on the prin­ci­ple of keep­ing the pollen away from the nose, thereby pre­vent­ing the al­ler­gic re­sponse, rather than treat­ing it.

Next week, I’ll ex­plore which hay fever treat­ment you should be us­ing and what to do when it no longer works.

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