Many people experience symptoms similar to hay fever all year round.
Doctors call this perennial rhinitis. Although symptoms affecting the eyes are unusual, sufferers have persistent attacks of sneezing and permanent runny nose.
This allergy is frequently mistaken for the permanent 'cold' and children especially may be wrongly prescribed repeated courses of antibiotics. Frequent causes are mould and house dust mite,animal hair, latex, cleaning agent and other chemicals.
Allergic reactions such as hay fever happen when the immune system overreacts to a normally harmless substance.
This triggers the production of an antibody called immunoglobulin E or IgE. IgE causes the release of some highly irritating substances, including histamine, which produce redness, heat and swelling (inflammation).
The most common symptoms are sneezing, wheezing, shortness of breath, a runny or blocked-up nose, watery and bloodshot eyes, rash, itchiness, diarrhoea and vomiting.
Health complications from repeated hay fever attacks, year after year, may be an even more serious problem. Chronic sinusitis, an inflammation of the sinus cavities is one of these complications. Another is nasal polyps. In addition, a significant percentage of people with hay fever have or develop asthma.
Hay fever and cross reactivity:
Those with pollen allergies are susceptible to cross-reactive foods. This occurs when the over active immune system cannot distinguish the difference between pollen proteins and food proteins.
When the immune system recognizes a “cross-reactive” protein, symptoms manifest.
Here are a few examples of cross reactivity:
Alder Pollen - almonds, apples, celery, cherries, hazel nuts, parsley, peaches, and pears.
Grass Pollen - melons, oranges, swiss chard, tomatoes, watermelons and wheat.
Lily: Asparagus, Chives, Garlic, Leek, Onion.