Does someone you love suffer from hay fever? This chronic condition might not be fatal but it can be a pain to live with! Here are 10 things to remember if you love someone with hay fever.
1. They Can be Embarrassed by a Flare-Up
Fits of uncontrolled sneezing or coughing – particularly if nasal drainage or itchy, watery or swollen eyes are involved, can be very embarrassing for the hay fever sufferer. This is especially true if it takes place in a public area like a restaurant or library or in general social situations.
2. They Can Suffer from Fatigue
Hay fever doesn’t just effect the respiratory system. People with hay fever can also suffer from fatigue, a feeling of chronic tiredness which can make everyday living activities difficult. If hay fever is well-controlled, however, this can help to ease this symptom.
3. They Should Avoid Outdoor Activities Sometimes
No, people with hay fever should not stay indoors for the rest of their lives! However, there are times when they should avoid prolong outdoor activities. Certain times of the year (such as the spring) and certain times of the day (early morning) are more likely to lead to a higher exposure to pollen. Dry, windy days can also lead to a lot of pollen, dust and mold spores in the air, which can set off an allergic reaction.
4. They May Need to Limit Activities Around the House and Yard
If hay fever is severe, outdoor activities like mowing, raking leaves or general gardening and indoor activities like dusting or vacuuming can cause serious flare-ups. People with hay fever might need to limit or avoid these activities or wear a protective mask over their nose and mouth while doing them.
5. They May Need Extra Equipment at Home
Having extra equipment around the house such as a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter, an air conditioner and dehumidifier and an efficient filter on your home heating system can keep the air cleaner and make flare-ups less likely. Hypoallergenic covers for pillows and mattresses and wood, tile or linoleum flooring that can be easily cleaned and can also make the house more friendly to those with hay fever.
6. They May Need Long-Term Therapy
Treating hay fever can often be a long-term deal. Those who suffer from it will often need to take daily antihistamines like Claritin or a nasal spray like Flonase which reduces inflammation. Many will also opt for immunotherapy (allergy shots) to help them build up their immune system and reduce the severity of attacks. Either way, they are in it for the long haul!
7. They Can Have a Reduced Sense of Taste and Smell
Chronic inflammation and congestion of the nasal passages can greatly reduce someone’s sense of smell – and sometimes even their sense of taste! So don’t be offended if your loved one comes home from work and doesn’t comment on the smell of the pot roast you’ve got going! And if they complain that something tastes “off”, remember that this can often be the result of their condition.
8. They are Not Contagious!
While hay fever may mimic some of the signs of a cold or the flu – such as sneezing, coughing, watery eyes, or sinus pain – it is important to remember that people with hay fever are NOT contagious! Their symptoms are caused by weaknesses in their immune system, not by an infection by a bacteria or virus.
9. They Are More Vulnerable to Other Diseases, But…
People with hay fever can sometimes be more likely to get other conditions as well, including sinusitis (sinus infections), asthma (hay fever is a common cause of asthma flare-ups), and eczema (which can lead to dry, red, itchy skin). This is because all of these conditions are related to the body’s immune system and how it reacts to irritants and allergens.
10. They Are Not Sickly
It is important to remember, however, that people who have hay fever are often otherwise healthy and can lead full and active lives, especially if that hay fever is well-controlled. They are not sickly and enjoy the same activities as everybody else!
Remembering these ten things about people with hay fever can make life easier for everyone in the family to live with!
Featured photo credit: Flickr via flickr.com