Hay fever

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:46 pm
Hay isn't the issue. Your eyes are red; your nose is running; your head is stopped up. Fever is the least of your problems. Still, it's called hay fever. At certain times of the year, flowers grasses or trees release pollen. If you're allergic to a specific type of pollen, hay fever is the result. When the pollen hits your nasal passages, antibodies are produced to counteract it. Among the by products of this process is a substance called histamine. It's what causes your nose to run, your sinuses to clog, and your eyes to turn red. Sometimes this reaction also produces an intense itching sensation that can strike anywhere. There are some over-the-counter preparations that may relieve some of the symptoms temporarily, but the only long-term relief comes from visiting an ear, nose and throat specialist. Through a series of tests, the doctor can determine exactly which types of pollen you're allergic to. Treatment then consists of a series of shots to desensitize your system to the specific types. Otherwise, you'll just have to go through the same thing every time the season comes around.

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