With hay fever season just around the corner, now might be a good time to reflect on some of the important facts concerning the condition, including what it is, its causes and its impact on children and adults.
Rhinitis is the medical term for hay fever. In less technical lingo, rhinitis is simply an allergy to pollen. Hay fever is particularly prevalent among pre-teen children with studies showing figures of 2 in every 5 children as occasionally or persistently affected by the illness. Seasonal hay fever is at its peak during the spring and summer when pollen is at its most abundant.
Other than just the dynamics unique to the different seasons of the year, certain circumstances leave one more predisposed to a hay fever attack than others. The outdoors for instance, is a more fertile ground for an attack, than the indoors for obvious reasons: there is more pollen in the atmosphere outdoors, than there is indoors. In addition, hotter days that are accompanied by unusually strong gusts of wind, lead to increased incidents of hay fever.
Rhinitis is actually the result of the body fighting the inhaled pollen, leading to changes in the body’s respiratory system, that then causes the sneezing, teary eyes and running nose that are the typical characteristics of this allergy.
In children, hay fever is sometimes as much a result of the exposure to pollen as it is genetic. If either parent had or still has problems with hay fever, then the chances of the son or daughter being particularly prone to the allergy, is a notch higher than the average.
When one looks at the high number of children that are affected by rhinitis each year, it is clear that it is quite difficult for a parent to completely shield their child from having to contend with this.
In order not to affect children’s schoolwork, medication that is non drowsy is the best alternative. This of course must be coupled with appropriate behaviour change, and environment awareness e.g. keeping windows shut in the home during windy spring or summer days, and instead relying on the air conditioning to manage room temperature.
But adults are not immune to this condition. Actually, during the spring and summer seasons, the allergy is one of the medical conditions that have the most impact on productivity and the general work environment.
Since rhinitis is often not considered an illness strong enough, to lead to one taking the day off, organizations can easily end up with an office, where employees may be present, but their productivity is so hindered, that their absence might have been a more effective alternative.
Of course if you happen to be the employee suffering from hay fever, your work will not be the only thing troubling your mind. The continuous wheezing, sneezing and nose blowing is not only irritating for you, but downright embarrassing sometimes.
All is not lost though, as there is medication that one should always keep close at hand during these times, especially, if you have record of coming down with the allergy during the spring or summer.