Hay Fever Symptoms and Diagnosis

November 12, 2012

Hay Fever Symptoms and Diagnosis

There are many types of hay fever or allergic rhinitis. Despite the name, a person does not have to be allergic to hay in order to suffer from hay fever symptoms. Symptoms appear whenever a person is exposed to whatever substance they are allergic to. Common allergens include plant pollen, molds, fungus, pet dander, house dust and hay.

Hay fever symptoms are similar to other respiratory infections such as the common cold. Symptoms need to be diagnosed by a doctor in order to give a patient the right treatment. Diagnosis may take days or weeks as both the patient and the doctor try and determine just what the patient is allergic to. Patients may be referred to allergists or doctors that specialize in the treatment of allergies. Hay fever becomes worse over time and if left untreated degenerated into asthma or chronic sinusitis.

Physical Symptoms

Common hay fever symptoms include:

  • Watery, clear liquid running from the nose

  • Sneezing, even to the point of breathlessness

  • Coughing due to post nasal drip

  • Painful, itchy throat or roof of the mouth

  • Constant tearing up of the eyes

  • Swelling and itchiness of the eyes

  • Redness and pain in the whites of the eyes (conjunctivitis)

  • Skin beneath the eyes becomes tinted blue

  • Headaches or pain in the front of the face due to swollen sinuses

Over time, these symptoms worsen so that a patient may suffer from constant nosebleeds, insomnia; nausea from swallowing mucus or blood; vomiting and abdominal pain; loss of smell or taste.

Psychological Symptoms

Hay fever symptoms cause more than physical changes. Patients that suffer severe allergy attacks have difficulty breathing, talking or doing even simple tasks. This can cause depression or worsen an existing depression. Children often have problems keeping up in school because they are out so often and may not be able to participate in sports.

Both children and adults may develop problems interacting with people because they are so preoccupied with trying to avoid allergens. Although many children can seem to grow out of their hay fever symptoms, this does not always happen. Children allergic to pollen become adults that become depressed and isolated as spring arrives because of anticipating future allergic attacks.

Comparison to Common Cold Symptoms

There are some differences in hay fever symptoms than for cold symptoms. These are general differences in the onset of symptoms but may not apply to every single person. It is still imperative for patients to get a diagnosis from a medical professional as to whether they have allergies, a cold or some other medical condition.

People with a cold suffer from a runny nose, sneezing and coughing, but their mucus is usually thick and colored instead of being clear. Many people with colds suffer from body aches and fever while these symptoms are often absent in those with hay fever. Symptoms of a cold often go away after a few days while a person with hay fever suffers as long as they are near whatever they are allergic to.


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