Hay Fever and Allergies: What's the Difference?

The Differences Between Hay Fever and Allergies

Hay Fever and Allergies

Allergies and hay fever affect 35% of Americans, causing various symptoms, from sneezing and rashes to sniffling and hives. While some patients are aware of their reactions to various allergens, they may not know whether the reactions stem from allergies or hay fever. It’s important to understand that hay fever is a type of allergy, but not all allergic reactions are caused by it. In this article, you will learn about the difference between hay fever and allergies and how to manage them effectively.

What is the Difference Between Hay Fever and Allergies?

The Facts and Treatment of Hay Fever

Hay fever is a chronic allergic reaction that occurs when your body reacts to allergens such as pollen, mold, and dust. The symptoms of hay fever are similar to those of a cold, such as a runny nose, sore throat, congestion, and watery eyes, which can often be mistaken for a cold. Unlike other allergic reactions that usually go away after you no longer come into contact with the allergen, hay fever can last for several months or even longer.

If you suspect you have hay fever, seeing a doctor for an accurate diagnosis is paramount. The doctor will formulate an individualized therapy plan based on the severity of your reactions, allergen triggers, and other medical factors. You may be able to manage hay fever by avoiding contact with the allergen, and your doctor may also recommend other treatments such as antihistamines, nasal corticosteroids, decongestant medications, allergy shots, or eye drops. Depending on your situation, your treatment plan may include a combination of these interventions.

The Facts and Treatment for Allergies

Allergies occur when your body reacts to foreign substances, known as allergens, as though they were harmful and attack. Unlike most pathogens, an allergy is a response to a substance that is not harmful to most people. Allergies can develop to almost anything, but the most common are pollen, food, mold and dust, insects, and pet dander. When you come into contact with the substance you’re allergic to; your body will react by trying to fight off harmful pathogens. These reactions can range from mild rashes, hives, nausea, and fatigue to severe anaphylactic shock.

Avoiding the allergen is often the best way to manage allergic reactions. However, if avoidance is not possible or allergic reactions significantly impact your life, your doctor can help you manage them. Allergy shots help desensitize your body to allergens by gradually increasing the amount of the allergen you’re exposed to over time. Our doctors will work with you to develop a custom treatment course that addresses your specific triggering allergens, starting with weekly shots and eventually moving to monthly. Your doctor may also prescribe medication, inhalers, sublingual immunotherapy tablets, or other allergy treatments. For specific life-threatening allergies, an epinephrine auto-injector will be prescribed for you to carry with you in case of exposure to the allergen.

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