10 Signs of Hay Fever

Hay Fever, or allergic rhinitis, is caused when the immune system overreacts to certain airborne substances. Although allergic rhinitis is rarely dangerous, it can cause serious discomfort. The most common trigger for hay fever is pollen from flowering plants, although grass and fungal spores can also cause an allergic reaction. If you only experience symptoms in the spring or fall, you probably have seasonal rhinitis. Perennial rhinitis is when the hay fever symptoms last all year long. Most hay fever symptoms have to do with the immune system producing far too much mucus. The purpose of the mucus is to capture the offending pollen and eliminate it from the respiratory system.

Unfortunately, the overproduction of phlegm can cause serious distress for all areas of the respiratory system. The nasal passages and sinuses can become blocked with excess phlegm, which leads to sinus pain, a runny nose, sneezing, ear pain, headaches, and watery eyes. Sometimes a severe and long lasting bout of hay fever can lead to a sinus or ear infection. In most cases, the symptoms will go away soon after the cause has been removed, which is why seasonal rhinitis clears up when the offending plants and trees stop producing pollen.

1. Ear Pain

The ear canals are connected to the sinuses directly, and they are highly sensitive to sinus pressure. When an allergy causes the sinuses to fill with mucus, the pressure behind the eardrum increases, which leads to ear pain. Sometimes the immune system’s overreaction to pollen can cause the inner ear to create or retain excess fluid, which closes off the canal and can quickly lead to a painful ear infection. Children are particularly susceptible to earaches that become infections.

If the ears fill with excess fluid it may become difficult to hear and you may find that you are more sensitive to changes in air pressure. Your ears may feel like they need to pop or open up. It can be helpful to try sleeping with your head slightly elevated so that fluid does not have the chance to build up in one ear or the other while you sleep. Usually the pain and pressure that accompany allergic rhinitis are not dangerous, they are only uncomfortable. If the pain becomes intense or does not go away after a few days it is a good idea to visit a doctor to make sure an infection has not set in. An untreated infection could lead to permanent damage and hearing loss.