hay fever

What is allergic hay fever
Pollen Allergy Causes
Symptoms in children and adults
What is the difference between hay fever and SARS
Search for an allergist
Hay fever treatment
Medicines for pregnant women
Diet for hay fever
Pollen monitoring
At home
At school
On the street
Masks, glasses, filters
In car
Run away from hay fever
Psychological help

Hello to all new allergy sufferers. If in the spring you first encountered the symptoms of allergic hay fever, do not be alarmed. There are many of us, allergy sufferers, and we know what to do, where to run and who to contact in order to defeat pollen allergy.

In this article, let’s call it instructions, I have collected answers to the most basic questions that will help you meet the spring – the season of allergens bloom.

My experience is already five years, but I continue to study and learn something new every day. Therefore, the article will be live – it will be constantly updated.

A huge amount of information has accumulated, and I have tried to arrange and structure it conveniently.

What is allergic hay fever

What is allergic hay fever

Like many other furious terms, we owe the concept of hay fever to the Latin language.

Hay feve is a violent allergic reaction of the body to pollen. According to the international classification of diseases ICD 10 (J30), hay fever is allergic rhinitis caused by proteins in plant pollen.

In those days when my great-grandmother was young, farmers believed that the cause of tears and runny nose lurked in the hay.

They didn’t take my great-grandmother to hay – she coughed, sneezed and covered with a rash. They were treated with ash and urine. And, as they say, it helped.

Another funny semantic fact about hay fever is an allergic salute or an allergic greeting. Have you heard about this? This is when an allergic person is constantly trying to scratch his poor nose with his palm upward.

When does allergen bloom start

In different regions it is different. The warmer the spring, the brighter the sensation of an allergic person. The rainier the spring, the longer the symptoms. The beginning of tree dusting depends on the weather: the number of warm days, precipitation, wind. There may be more pollen in one year, and very little in another. The sensations of allergy sufferers from year to year can also be different – from mild manifestations to bronchospasm.

Table – Allergen bloom calendar

March / April May / June July / August September /  October
Northwest hazel, alder,
willow, oak
maple, birch, dandelion
birch, oak, poplar, linden
ash, maple, aspen,
conifers, grasses and cereals
grasses and grains, weeds weeds
Middle lane hazel, alder,
willow, oak
maple, birch, dandelion
birch, oak, poplar, linden
ash, maple, aspen,
conifers, grasses and cereals
grasses and cereals, weeds weeds
Volga region alder, willow birch, oak, poplar, linden
ash, maple, aspen,
conifers, grasses and cereals
grasses and cereals, weeds weeds
Ural alder, aspen, hazel, willow, birch, elm, maple herbs and cereals, birch, oak grasses and cereals, weeds weeds
South cypress, apricot, cherry plum, willow, cherry, oak, maple, ash, peach, hazel, blue spruce, sycamore, lilac, chestnut sunflower, geranium, Spanish gorse, rose, honeysuckle, herbs and cereals sunflower, weeds, elderberry weeds

The size of plant pollen varies from 5 to 200 microns, on average 20-60 microns in diameter. Therefore, a mosquito net does not interfere with pollen. The wind carries pollen over great distances; many allergy sufferers react to the pollen of those trees that do not even grow in their strip. The pollen of birch and ragweed is transported over distances of up to 1000 km. Alder pollen – 500 km., Willow – 60 km. Linden pollen is heavy and sticky – hardly spread, pollinated by insects.

Plants spray pollen at different times of the day. Alder pollen concentration is 10% lower at night, and dusting peak in the afternoon. The birch is dusty day and night. The maximum amount of birch pollen in the air in the afternoon, after 15.00

Wormwood almost doesn’t get dusty at night. But ambrosia, on the contrary, is more active at night – 30% more than during the day. The concentration of ragweed pollen reaches its peak a couple of hours after sunrise.

Dry, warm and sunny weather, when a light breeze blows, these are ideal conditions for plant dusting.
If you live high up, don’t expect to be lucky. The wind raises pollen to a great height and even at the hundredth floor there will be no escape from it.

Only prolonged rain washes away the pollen. A light rain breaks the pollen into smaller components, which easily penetrate the bronchi and can worsen the condition. After heavy and quick rain, the concentration of pollen in the air increases.

There is such a thing as thunderstorm asthma. This is when moisture increases the concentration of allergens in the air, and the wind raises dust, pollen and other allergens from the roads. Not everyone can cope with such a massive attack. It’s better to stay at home at a time like this.

Allergy sufferers will not be helped by sudden frosts. If it gets colder sharply, plant anthers simply close until warming. Therefore, in the cold, dusting is stretched. As temperatures rise, plants begin to make up for lost time with a vengeance.

Many trees and grasses have similar protein allergens. For example, some birch proteins are similar to timothy proteins. Plant proteins are similar to some proteins in fruits and vegetables. You react to birch – it will probably react to an apple or celery – this is called cross-reaction.

Сauses of hay fever

causes of hay fever

Why is the organism of an allergic person so disliked with pollen of harmless plants?

It’s funny, but medicine cannot yet give an exact answer to this question. There are many assumptions and hypotheses, but little evidence.

In general, plant pollen is an ideal allergen. Not every substance is capable of becoming an allergen – you need the right size and structure. The immune system cannot be fooled.

So, pollen, in this respect, fits perfectly. Pollen molecules are small enough to penetrate the body’s barrier tissues. And yet large enough to be noticed by the immune system.

Heredity is considered the most studied cause of hay fever. But if you don’t have relatives with a pollen allergy, it’s too early to relax. Genes mutate, and you can become patient zero for your descendants.

The opposite is also true – if there are allergy sufferers in the family, the child does not necessarily get hay fever. With genes, the predisposition to the disease is transmitted, and not the disease itself.

External factors
Do not discount the environmental conditions. They can cause hay fever no less than heredity.

  • high concentration of pollen in the air during pregnancy and in the first year of a baby’s life;
  • infectious diseases of the respiratory tract under the age of 3 years;
  • place and living conditions: damp house, excessive sterility.

Hormonal and stress
Often, hay fever occurs for the first time during pregnancy. Interestingly, according to the observations of doctors, in allergy sufferers over 65, the intensity of the reaction decreases. Although, of course, there are allergy sufferers over 70.

Vitamin D deficiency
I found studies according to which a lack of vitamin D increases the permeability of the skin and mucous membranes, increasing the risk of allergies.

Atopic dermatitis
People with atopic dermatitis are at risk of developing pollinosis. In atopics, the skin barrier is disrupted due to a lack of the protein phylagrin. Allergen proteins get on the skin and easily enter the body, where they are met by the immune system.

More recently, hay fever almost never occurred in children under 3 years of age. Recently, the disease is getting younger. One-year-old children are allergic no longer a rarity.

Can you outgrow hay fever? It turns out it is possible, but it happens very rarely. If hay fever is not treated, it will remain with the allergic person for many years and may worsen over time.

Symptoms of hay fever in children and adults

Symptoms of hay fever

Oh, these symptoms! I’m scared to write about them. It’s scary, because self-medication is our national fun.

Friends, you need to know about the symptoms in order to clearly explain to the allergist what is happening to you. Perhaps you only think that you are allergic, and the reason for the reactions is completely different.

An allergist friend told me that out of 10 patients, only three are true allergy sufferers. The rest are sent to other specialists.

Your allergy diary is a good help for your doctor. The sharpest memory is worse than the dullest pencil. Write down every little thing, it will help in diagnosis.

Typical allergy symptoms, I think, are known to everyone – runny nose, itchy eyes and tears, sore throat, cough, bronchospasm.

But there are symptoms that are not easy to relate to allergies.

The main thing that should immediately arouse your suspicion is the repeated reactions at the same time of the year. Please note that reactions may not appear immediately. For example, you walk all day and everything is fine, but by the evening you start to feel bad.

  • Increased body temperature. Sometimes it happens like that;
  • One eye can react more strongly than the other;
  • There may be abdominal pain – the gastrointestinal mucosa reacts to the allergen in the same way as the nasal mucosa;
  • Nervous tics appear or intensify. Histamine affects the nervous system;
  • Lethargy, drowsiness, irritability, apathy, or even depression;
  • Headaches;
  • Pulse is higher than normal;
  • Nose bleed;
  • Rash, acne, urticaria, atopic dermatitis worsens;
  • Redness of exposed skin areas (cheeks, arms, neck);
  • Bruises under the eyes. The reason is swelling of the nose or lack of fresh air;
  • Sore throat;
  • Hoarse voice;
  • The manifestations of bronchial asthma are aggravated;
  • Snoring and puffing in sleep;
  • Decreased sense of smell;
  • Enlarged lymph nodes;
  • Joint and muscle pain.

What is the difference between hay fever and SARS

Distinguishing a cold from an allergy is not easy even for a doctor. An experienced ENT, when examining the mucous membrane, will be able to determine the cause of the runny nose and swelling.

It’s about an experienced ENT. My little allergic person was diagnosed with SARS for seven months and was treated with potions.

The people advise one trick. Try an antihistamine. If you feel relief, then most likely you have an allergy. But the trick may not work if the antihistamine isn’t right for you. Some antihistamines can affect inflammation and help manage rhinitis, whatever the cause.

But this is all for the mistress to note. What doctors advise to pay attention to.

How does the disease begin.

SARS: you know exactly when you catch a cold, there are positive dynamics of symptoms, and you recover in a couple of weeks.

Allergy: all symptoms are either prolonged in time, or a clear allergen-symptom relationship is visible. No allergen, no symptom.
For example, at home with open windows you have a runny nose, come to work, where most of the time the windows are closed and air conditioners are on, the runny nose passes.


SARS: fever, runny nose, cough.

Allergies: swelling of the nose, profuse runny nose, sneezing (especially in series) and itching in the nose, eyes redden and itchy, cough and itching in the throat, skin itches.

Itching is the main symptom by which an allergy can be suspected.

But the color and consistency of snot, without examining the ENT, does not mean anything.

In the first days of ARVI, mucus can be transparent and liquid, and if allergic snot is not blown out for a long time, they can become yellowish and thick.

Duration of symptoms

SARS: the condition improves in 7-14 days.

Allergy: Symptoms are present as long as there is contact with the allergen.

In any case, if you are not healthy, do not self-medicate, seek help from a doctor.

Search for an allergist

Search for an allergist

Oh, how difficult it is to find an allergist-immunologist with whom you can do immunotherapy, who will support you in word and deed and who will bring you to remission.

All my thoughts on where to look for a doctor, how to choose from several candidates and how to prepare for the first appointment, I have collected from a separate article. I will not repeat myself here.



It is not necessary to take tests before meeting with an allergist. And although it seems to us that it is better to come to an appointment with the test results, you run the risk of wasting money – tests are expensive.

The allergist will listen to you, examine you, assess the symptoms and only then prescribe certain tests. It is in this sequence that allergy diagnostics takes place.

Allergy is a clinical diagnosis, it is not made by tests. There should be symptoms and complaints when exposed to an allergen.

What tests can an allergist prescribe?

  • Blood by the ImmunoCap method. You can take it at any time of the year. In this case, it does not matter whether you are taking medication or not. The ImmunoCap method is the most informative analysis in modern allergology. To predict the results of ASIT, the allergist may ask to be tested for major and minor proteins of the allergen using the ImmunoCap method;
  • Skin tests (are not done during flowering);
  • General blood analysis;
  • Fadiatop (ImmunoCap) – often prescribed for children for the initial diagnosis of allergies. The analysis only shows whether there is an allergy or not. You can donate blood from a finger;
  • ISAC allergy test, AllergoExpert 300, ALEX – component allergy diagnostics. You can donate blood from a finger;
  • Rhinocytogram or nasal swab – diagnosis of allergic rhinitis. The result depends on the direct hands of the nurse;
  • RIDA panel (immunoblot) – less sensitive test than ImmunoCap;
  • Total immunoglobulin E (IgE) is not informative for the diagnosis of allergies. It can be increased for other diseases, and be within the normal range for allergies;
  • DTC (Mast Cell Degranulation) – not informative, not prescribed in developed countries;
  • IgG to food proteins – according to EAACI, a positive result is not a marker of allergy or pseudo-allergy. Link to document.

Medicines for hay fever

medicines for hay fever

Depending on your reaction to pollen, the allergist will prescribe a list of medications to help your body not notice the pollen.

What is base

Base is a list of medicines that relieve allergy symptoms and help the body during flowering. Cover the body from the allergen.

The base is selected by the doctor individually: cromones, hormones, antihistamines, montelukast, inhalations – to each his own.

It happens that the medicine does not work and you have to try something else.

The main thing is to take medications according to the scheme prescribed by the allergist. Do not replace or cancel medication yourself.

If the drug is not suitable, ask your doctor to prescribe another.

Allergy develops suspiciousness, and we largely suspect manifestations of the disease. Let the allergist be always in touch – it reassures.

When to start taking medication

Many allergists recommend that you start taking your prescribed medications a few weeks before flowering begins.

Vaccinations, mantoux tests and planned surgeries

Postpone vaccinations and surgeries until better times. Excess load, during flowering, the body does not need.


Sorbents do not treat allergies, do not cleanse the blood, and are not prescribed by doctors of evidence-based medicine for the flowering period. In addition, some sorbents themselves can cause allergies.

You can read more about sorbents here:

Oxolinic ointment

It is not a barrier agent, does not protect against viruses and allergens. On the contrary, as doctors emphasize, the sticky base of the ointment sticks together the hairs inside the nose, which filter the incoming air.


Allergists do not recommend treating allergies with homeopathy.

How to treat allergies

The only effective treatment for allergies is ASIT immunotherapy. In allergology, it is believed that allergies cannot be cured, you can only go into a prolonged remission. During remission, allergy symptoms do not bother you or do not bother you much. Immunotherapy ASIT helps to achieve this state.

ASIT do this – they introduce micro-doses of the allergen into the body, that is, they teach the immune system of the allergic person to recognize the allergen as not dangerous.

What allergy medications can pregnant and lactating mothers have

Modern allergy medications can be taken during pregnancy or breastfeeding. At least most of them.

Allergists often prescribe the safest medicines for pregnant women: cetirizine, levocetirizine, loratadine, cromolyn sodium, budesonide (inhalations and nasal sprays), topical steroids (creams and emollients).

In any case, there is nothing to worry about – the allergist will know your position and will select the necessary drugs.

Previously, the list of approved drugs could be viewed here https://www.e-lactation.com/

You can also look at the forum for nursing mothers, where they check drugs according to foreign reference books: http://forum.akev.info and http://www.drugs.com

Keep in mind that pregnant women often have manifestations that can be confused with allergies: rhinitis of pregnant women and polymorphic rash of pregnant women. Be sure to see a doctor, do not use the advice of your online friends.

Diet for hay fever

Diet for hay fever

With a diet, everything is simple – do not eat fruits and vegetables to which there is a reaction.

But before you completely abandon these foods, try boiling or frying them. Exposure to high temperatures neutralizes some of the protein allergens in foods. The exception is nuts. Proteins of nuts become more aggressive after heat treatment.

If it does not help, you will have to abandon them and decide with the doctor what to do next.

No reaction – no diet.

If there is a reaction to an apple, only the apple should be removed, not all fruits and vegetables.

It happens that histaminoliberator products (which increase the release of histamine) increase the manifestations of allergies during the flowering period – in this case, a diet is also needed.

The main thing is not to follow a diet – just in case – it’s unnecessary.

What foods can be a reaction if you are allergic to birch

  • young potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, carrots;
  • fruits: apples, pears, kiwi, peaches, plums, apricots, cherries, cherries, strawberries;
  • rosehip;
  • peas, beans, soybeans, peanuts;
  • olives, olives;
  • herbs and spices: celery, asparagus, parsley, curry, anise, cumin, cinnamon;
  • honey and beekeeping products;
  • nuts (hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds);
  • citrus fruits and their seeds;
  • Birch juice;
  • phytopreparations: birch leaf and buds, alder cones, oak bark, buckthorn bark.

Pollen monitoring

Pollen monitoring

If pollen is not visible, this does not mean that it is not there. The pollen is small and light. The wind carries it over great distances.

When there is snow in northwest Russia, trees bloom in central Europe and clouds of European pollen cover Russian cities.

We conclude that pollen monitoring is mandatory.

There are special drift monitoring sites for this: Silam, Allergotop. And sites for monitoring the well-being of allergy sufferers: Pollen Club. However, keep in mind that it is difficult to focus on the well-being of other allergy sufferers – everyone has different sensitivity to the allergen.

There is a useful application for identifying plant species – PlantNet.

Hiding from the pollen at home

гипоаллергенный быт

When the allergen blooms, your home is your fortress.

Supply ventilation – breathers

Supply ventilation with a set of filters – breathers: TION, Airnanny A7, Royal Clima Brezza, Ballu, Xiaomi.

Breathers ventilate the apartment and keep pollen out.

But they do not cool the air, and in hot weather it will be stuffy in the apartment, so it would be good to put an air conditioner.

Keep in mind that through normal ventilation, pollen penetrates very well into the apartment. Therefore, it is better to glue the ventilation.

Breathers are great, but expensive and not every apartment will have a place for them.

Covering material – Spunbond

What to do for those who do not have a breather. Cover all windows with Spunbond or a thick massage sheet. Spunbond is a non-woven material familiar to summer residents. Greenhouses are covered with spunbond.

Spunbond is available in different weights: 17, 30, 40, 60 g / m2

Knowledgeable allergy sufferers advise that it is better to take less dense, but do more layers, for example 17 in 4 layers, 40 in 3 layers, 60 in 2 layers.

Spunbond can be attached to the mosquito net with a stapler, tape, sewn on or fixed with a rubber band.

The covering material is not a breather, its efficiency is much lower, but still it is better than nothing – it retains most of the pollen.

Is it possible to ventilate the apartment during flowering? Better not, but if there is no other way out, ventilate in short bursts of 5 minutes every two hours. And better after a heavy rain.

It is best to open windows between 4 and 6 in the morning – at this time there is the least amount of pollen in the air. Do not open windows in dry, sunny or windy weather.

Air purifiers and humidifiers

No matter how well the breathers work, pollen will still get into the apartment on clothes, shoes, skin, hair.

To neutralize indoor pollen, you will need an air purifier or air washer.

Due to the dry air in the room, the skin and mucous membranes of the nose and bronchi will suffer. Dry mucous membranes are more susceptible to irritants and allergens.

Keep an eye on the humidity, buy a hygrometer and place it away from the humidifier. But do not overdo it – with high humidity, dust mites and mold are activated. Maintain a humidity level of 40-50%.

Hypoallergenic life

No matter how many appliances you buy, per square meter of living space, you cannot do without a broom with a scoop, rags and a vacuum cleaner.

  • Put outer clothing in covers, bags or an insulated closet – pollen travels on clothes and shoes
  • Be sure to change after the street in your home clothes. Street clothes should be washed or steam treated more often;
  • After a walk, be sure to shower with your head – pollen rolls on your skin and hair;
  • Do not dry your laundry outside or on the balcony;
  • Moisturize the nasal mucosa as often as possible;
  • Wash your floors several times a day;
  • Wipe off dust;
  • Buy a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter;
  • Keep pets and flowers away. Do not let the animals go to bed and wash them more often, their fur coat carries kilograms of allergens;
  • Do not grow seedlings at home, especially tomatoes.

How to meet flowering season at school

How to meet flowering season at school

In spring, doors and windows are opened at schools. Classmates on clothes will also bring a lot of pollen. So with the school everything is individual. If your child reacts in class, try wearing a mask. Doesn’t help – study at home.


On the street

hay fever

Better to walk after heavy and lingering rain. High humidity after a light rain and before a thunderstorm provokes pollen to release proteins allergens into the atmosphere. In other words, there is no more pollen, but there will be more allergic proteins in the air. In addition, proteins are much smaller than pollen grains and more easily penetrate the protective barriers of the body. Therefore, it is wiser to stay at home.

Where is it better to walk, in forest parks or along the streets? There is no definite answer, in the forest the concentration of pollen is higher, but in the city it is more aggressive. In addition, there are many other irritants for the nose and bronchi in the city – here you have dust, exhaust gases and animal hair.

The worst time for walking is from 6 am to 10 am and from 6 pm to 10 pm.

It happens that in the evening the state of health of the allergic person worsens. The body does not react to pollen immediately, but with a delay. The longer you stay in the air, the more pollen you pick up and the brighter the subsequent reaction can be.

Use a nose barrier while walking. For my son, the doctor prescribed Aqua Maris Ectoin (from 2 years old).

Ectoin creates a barrier (without a film) on the nasal mucosa, which prevents allergen proteins from attaching to the nasal epithelium.

The nasal mucosa must be moistened. Use saline or
isotonic saline solutions. Dry nasal mucosa is like a sieve and is more sensitive to allergenic proteins and irritants.

And the skin must be carefully monitored. When pollen gets on the skin of an allergic person, it can exacerbate skin conditions. In addition, pollen easily penetrates the damaged skin barrier and may become allergic over time.

When fallen birch catkins appear on the asphalt, and after the rain pollen does not float in the puddles, then the dusting season is coming to an end.

But do not rush to rejoice – remember about the second wave of dusting in the forests. Outside the city, birch begins to dust ten days later and the pollen can be carried into the city by winds.

Anti-pollen masks, goggles and filters

Anti-pollen masks, goggles and filters

Medical masks will not save you from pollen. The most popular masks for allergy sufferers are Respro, 3M.

Pay attention to the purpose of the mask before buying.

The mask will help reduce the amount of medication, sometimes to zero. Just use the mask correctly and do not forget to take care of it – steam, wash.

Nose filters, however, are not as effective.

One day I came across an ad for Japanese pollen blockers. This is a spray that drives pollen away from you like insects. Nonsense. The blocker will definitely not relieve you of pollen, but it will help to get bronchospasm.

Hiding from the pollen in the car

Hiding from the pollen in the car

  • Ask your workshop to install a HEPA cabin filter that will trap pollen and prevent it from entering the cabin .;
  • Get in and out quickly, don’t open windows;
  • Wear a mask while driving if necessary. Of course, the traffic police inspector will be interested in you, but I think this is the
  • lesser of evils. Well, during a pandemic, you will only be praised;
  • There are car air purifiers. For example, the ubiquitous Xiaomi or IQAir. I did not find any reviews about these gadgets.
  • Among my friends, only one allergy sufferer bought one for himself. He says it doesn’t help him.автомобильный очиститель воздуха

Get away from hay fever

Get away from hay fever

Here, too, everything is individual. It would seem that it would be easier to go to a place where birches have never been seen. However, there is a risk that a reaction to additional allergens will join.

Plant proteins are very similar in structure to each other. For example, the main (major) protein in the pollen of our birch is similar to the proteins of southern plants: sycamore, hornbeam and walnut. Minor (minor) proteins of birch are similar in structure to proteins of some herbs.

The reaction to similar proteins in plants from different regions does not appear immediately – usually after a couple of years.

It is best to discuss your trip with an allergist.

If you decide to escape, there are sites where you can see how allergy sufferers felt in this place – the Pollen Club.

As allergists joke: a pig will always find dirt. Translated into Russian: there would be an allergic person, but there will always be an allergen. Allergies need to be treated.

Psychological help

Psychological help for allergy sufferers

No doubt, allergy sufferers are hard in spring. Spring for allergy sufferers is a real test of durability. Outside the window, the birds are singing, the sun is shining, and we are sitting at home or sneaking to the car in a mask and glasses.

It is especially difficult for children – not to go out on their own, you cannot invite friends.

My baby has been meeting spring at home for the third year already. We have fun as we can: draw, sculpt, play, read.

We replace walks not with video games and TV, but with chess and home football. It turns out not bad.

If you find it hard to endure forced confinement, do not hesitate to ask for help from specialists. Do not be afraid – they will not put you on record in a crazy house.

You need to talk about problems and try to deal with stress.

There is no doctor you know, use the services to select a psychologist.

You can communicate with a psychologist without leaving your home, for example, via Skype.

Remember the main thing – you are not alone – there are a lot of allergy sufferers. And it’s not all that scary. You can learn to live with allergies, albeit with minor restrictions 🙂

But you don’t need to read forums for allergy sufferers in the spring. The panic mood of most members of the forum is contagious. Willy nilly, you begin to try everything on yourself.

Forums are good for gathering information, but not for treatment and psychological help.

Hay fever – symptoms, causes and treatment
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