Runny nose, watery eyes, itchy throat, drowsiness – if these sound like your seasonal accessories, then you could be an unfortunate hay fever sufferer. According to the World Health Organisation, hay fever or allergic rhinitis affects between 10–30 percent of the worldwide population. In the UK alone, it affects around 13 million people.
What is allergic rhinitis?
What exactly is allergic rhinitis? Otherwise known as “hay fever”, allergic rhinitis is a condition that causes symptoms such as runny nose, itchy eyes, sneezing, sinus pressure and congestion. However, unlike a cold, hay fever is not caused by a virus. Allergic rhinitis usually starts when you are young, but you can still get it at any age. It is more common in people whose family members already have it, or if they have other existing allergies like asthma.
The two types of allergic rhinitis
First, it’s important to know that there are two different classifications of allergic rhinitis, as knowing which type of allergic rhinitis you have will prepare you on how to prevent them.
Seasonal allergic rhinitis occurs only during certain times of the year. It usually happens in the spring, summer and fall due to pollens in the air from grass, weeds, flowers and trees and also outdoor moulds. When the weather turns cold, symptoms normally improve.
Perennial allergic rhinitis
This type of allergic rhinitis can occur throughout the year. Perennial allergic rhinitis is often caused by indoor elements such as dust mites, animal dander, cockroaches or indoor mould. Unlike seasonal allergic rhinitis, perennial allergic rhinitis tends to worsen during the winter, especially when it is caused by dander, as houses are generally closed up during the cold season.
Symptoms of allergic rhinitis
The symptoms for both kinds of allergic rhinitis are normally the same. These symptoms can include:
- Watery and itchy eyes (often becomes red / pinkish)
- Runny nose
- Nasal congestion
- Postnasal drip
- Itchy nose and throat
- Swollen, blue-tinged skin under the eyes
Although the symptoms are not lethal, they can definitely affect one’s mood and overall performance during the day. It’s also important to keep allergic rhinitis at bay because even if they are not caused by a virus, it can lower your immune system, making you susceptible to virus-led conditions.
Do you have hay fever? Or is it the common cold?
The signs and symptoms of hay fever and the common cold can be pretty similar, so it’s often tricky to tell which one you actually have. How can you tell if you have hay fever or the common cold? The answer mainly lies on the mucous.
When you have hay fever, you have a runny nose with thin, watery discharge. You normally would not have a fever. If you have the common cold, you also have a runny nose but the discharge is thicker, and often yellow. You will also likely have body pains and aches and a low-grade fever.
There’s also a difference in the onset of the symptoms. With hay fever, the symptoms appear immediately after exposure to allergens. Symptoms of the common cold appear one to three days after you’ve been exposed to a cold virus.
The duration of the symptoms also differs. When you have hay fever, symptoms only last as long as you are exposed to the allergens. When you have the common cold, it normally lasts between three to seven days.
Hay fever relief
The grim news is there is currently no permanent cure to hay fever. However, most people are able to relieve their symptoms with treatment. For severe hay fever sufferers, or to those who simply cannot remove themselves from allergen exposure (usually seasonal allergic rhinitis), nasal sprays (corticosteroids) and antihistamine in the form of pills, nasal sprays and eyedrops can provide temporary relief. Over-the-counter oral decongestants have also been known to relieve hay fever symptoms.
To those who prefer not to take medications, or if their hay fever symptoms are not relieved through them, doctors can also recommend allergy shots. Regular shots containing tiny amounts of allergens are given over the course of three to five years. The idea is to get one’s body used to the allergens that cause the symptoms of hay fever. This immunotherapy option is often taken by those who are allergic to the “inevitable” allergens such as cat dander, mites, pollen produced by trees, grass or weeds.
The simple solution: Applying an ice eye mask
Amidst all these drug-based solutions lies a simple, inexpensive and drug-free way to relieve hay fever symptoms: a cooling ice eye mask.
This is a wonderfully cooling, calming and affordable relief for symptoms of hay fever, allergies and inflammation.
How does a cooling ice eye mask provide relief to hay fever symptoms?
An ice eye mask acts as a cool compress to the eye and forehead area. Cold temperature is known to subside inflammation and soothe allergic reactions. It constricts blood vessels and helps reduce neurotransmission of pain to the brain. This is why cold compress such as a cooling ice eye mask is known to reduce headache and migraine pain. A cool compress also provides a numbing sensation, so one will temporarily be free of the itchiness, stinging eyes and intense headaches that come with hay fever.
Because of the gel properties within them, cooling ice eye masks are flexible even after being removed from the freezer. This allows them to mould and contour around your eye and forehead area comfortably. Gel packs also retain cold temperature for several minutes, so you will get effective relief from puffy, itchy, tired and swollen eyes.
Cooling ice eye masks are also reusable, so you can use them for other non-hay fever related issues such as conjunctivitis, insomnia, stye, blepharitis and much more.
Here’s the bonus part! Cooling ice eye masks are also known to help get rid of dark under eye circles. So, this drug free solution provides you relief from hay fever symptoms and also makes those peepers look better? We don’t know about you, but that sounds like a pretty good deal.
Do you suffer from allergic rhinitis? Have you tried the cooling ice eyes mask solution? Send us a message and let us know!