Hay Fever, Allergies and Asthma

 This time of year can be very rough for those that have hay fever, allergies and asthma. Over 22 million Americans are plagued during the spring and fall seasons by such annoying symptoms as sneezing, congestion, runny nose, itchy throat and red, watery eyes. 

One out of every six Americans suffers from an allergic condition and sales of over the counter products is a multi million dollar industry. Allergy is an inherited trait, a genetic susceptibility towards the production of certain allergy anti-bodies where hay fever is basically an allergic reaction to pollens from trees, weed and grasses. Unlike garden flower pollen, which is carried by insects, the dry lightweight pollens which cause hay fever are generally spread by wind currents which make them difficult to avoid. In fact, samples of ragweed pollen have been found 400 miles at sea! While most people suffer mild discomfort with hay fever, it is estimated that more than 40 percent of the 5.8 million children who have respiratory allergies miss some school, stay in bed or feel upset by the condition.

Additionally, complications from hay fever can be serious. The same allergens that cause hay fever can reach the lungs causing asthma and other complications. Sinusitis (inflammation of the sinus cavities) and nasal polyps (small outgrowths of the mucous membrane of the nose) may develop. Secondary infections of the ear, larynx and bronchial tubes may occur. Also, prolonged year-round nasal stuffiness and mouth breathing may lead to facial bone growth changes in children.

Unlike hay fever, asthma is a more complex disease involving a reversible constriction of the muscles lining the human airways. It is more often associated with allergy immune cells and can get progressively worse, reaching life-threatening stages if not properly controlled. It can be treated more effectively when it is diagnosed early. Medications that have been proven to be effective for the treatment of asthma include Advair Diskus, Albuterol, Asmanex, Foradil, Flovent, Prednisone, Pulmicort, Singulair, Symbicort, Ventolin, Xolair and Xopenex. 

 

 

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