Atopic dermatitis (or atopic eczema), the most common kind of eczema, is believed to have a hereditary link and also to be caused by one type of allergy source or sometimes many. In this way eczema is closely connected to another allergy oriented problem, hay fever. Approximately forty-five million American citizens suffer from an allergy to something. Some people suffer all year long while in some cases it is seasonal related. The technical name for hay fever is allergic rhinitis. It was given the slang name “hay fever” because many years ago people who worked with hay on farms and in the field often develop respiratory symptoms such as sneezing as well as sinus and nasal congestion afterwards. The three most popular symptoms of an allergic reaction are asthma, eczema and hay fever.
Individuals who have any one of the above mentioned conditions are very likely to develop the other conditions as well. For example, a predisposition for eczema makes one more inclined to develop hay fever because of how these allergies wear down the immune system.
Allergy symptoms show themselves when the immune system responds to an allergen in the air as if it were an unwanted visitor. Antibodies are sent to protect the body from this intruder and the fight that takes place between antibodies and allergens brings about the release of what are known as “chemical mediators” (one being histamine), which sets about the task of flooding the bloodstream. The mediators bring about allergic symptoms in the body as it tries to fight off the attacker.
A variety of symptoms can result from hay fever and not all individuals will experience all of the same symptoms. These symptoms include itchy, watery eyes, nasal congestion, sneezing, drainage, nasal stuffiness, and in some cases headaches can result. There are some individuals who suffer from sore throats, problems with their hearing, coughing problems and hoarseness. Other symptoms that are less common include problems with balance, irritation of the skin’s surface, inflammation that erupts in the face or tissues of the throat and sometimes respiratory problems. Hay fever can sometimes bring about asthma.
Hay fever is a result of pollens in the air. In the United States the most common reason for hay fever to start is because of ragweed. Ragweed begins its pollination season in late summer (late August) and ends when the first frost appears. The pollens that come from the grass in the latter half of the spring season include orchard, red top, timothy, Bermuda, Johnson, a variety of bluegrasses and sweet vernal. The hay fever that makes its appearance in the early start of spring comes from a multitude of tree pollens. These tree pollens include alder, ash, beech, birch, cottonwood, cypress, elm, hickory, maple, oak, pecan, poplar, sycamore and walnut.
Other allergens that can contribute to hay fever are such items as dust from around the household, pet hair and/or fur, wool and other natural fibers, a variety of foods, as well as a variety of household chemical and solvents. Mold is another common allergen that causes harm to hay fever and eczema sufferers. Mold spores are believed to be the cause of just as many allergic reactions as are pollens. These allergens tend to bother sufferers worse in the colder months due to indoor heating and the fact that fresh air is not as plentiful.