If your nose is running in spring and summer, you quickly suspect an allergy, because these are typical symptoms of hay fever. But the pollen is not always to blame!
Your nose is running, your throat is scratching – just a harmless cold or symptoms of hay fever? If you sneeze diligently in spring, the allergy quickly becomes suspected as the cause of the symptoms. But sometimes the diagnosis is not that easy because there are hardly any differences from a cold. From coughing to sneezing to sleep disorders, hay fever symptoms can manifest themselves in very different ways.
We show you how you can distinguish the symptoms of pollen allergy from those of a cold and give you a few helpful tips for treatment.
Typical hay fever symptoms
Hay fever is one of the most common allergies: Around 10-30 percent of people suffer from the famous pollen allergy (Pollinosis). The allergy can be expressed in many ways, but mostly the mucous membranes are affected by the nose, eyes, and mouth.
Classic hay fever symptoms are:
- Runny nose or a stuffy nose
- Itchy, burning and inflamed eyes
- a scratchy throat
- Itching in the mouth or throat
- Cough and sore throat can also occur
- Asthma can also be associated with hay fever
Other hay fever symptoms include problems with concentration, impaired sense of smell, taste, and hearing, sleep disorders and dry skin or allergic reactions of the skin.
Tip: For example, you can cover the bedroom window with a pollen protection fleece to at least partially block out the annoying bee pollen.
What is the difference between a cold and hay fever?
Runny nose, sore throat, fatigue: The typical hay fever symptoms are very similar to those of a cold. It is therefore difficult for many to decide where the complaints come from. Allergic reaction or cold? The following tips can help you make the right diagnosis.
One of the differences between hay fever and cold is the sudden onset of symptoms. Hay fever is one of the immediate types among allergies: This means that the allergic reaction occurs immediately after contact with the allergen. With hay fever, the sneezing or tearing of the eyes begins shortly after you have come into contact with the pollen. As a rule, the complaints are more severe outdoors than in closed rooms.
A cold, however, slowly creeps up on you. First, the throat scratches a little, then cough and runny nose come one after the other. The complaints are always the same – no matter where you are. Typical hay fever symptoms such as itchy eyes are rather rare with a cold.
The nasal secretion is also a reliable sign when it comes to the question of whether it is a harmless cold or an allergy:
- Clear secret speaks for hay fever.
- In the case of a cold, the secretion is thicker and yellowish-green in color.
Also, cough and sore throat as hay fever symptoms behave differently with a cold. There they are present all day long, but they fade away after a few days. If the symptoms are allergic, they are sometimes stronger and sometimes weaker throughout the day. And usually much more pronounced when you are outdoors.
Another important distinguishing feature between hay fever and cold is the regularity with which the allergic runny nose occurs more or less at the same time once a year. A cold, however, does not follow appointments.
What to do about hay fever? Good everyday tips for pollen allergy:
- Proper ventilation is an important aspect. You should only do this at certain times. In the city in the early morning, in the country in the late evening.
- There are special pollen filters for ventilation for drivers.
- Daily vacuuming or wiping reduces pollen accumulation at home.
- Do not take off or keep worn clothing in the bedroom, after all, the burden of sleeping should be reduced to a minimum.
- Wash hair and face before bed because the pollen gets stuck in the hair. This also applies to the partner who shares the bed with you.
Treat hay fever symptoms
Hay fever is extremely annoying and causes many allergy sufferers to feel depressed instead of enjoying the sun and spring. Because as soon as pollen begins to fly in spring, people suffering from hay fever know what to expect in the coming weeks. Of course, it is impossible for people suffering from hay fever to avoid contact with the dreaded allergen when pollen is flying. Fortunately, there are various treatment options available to make life easier for those affected in spring.
There are medications for many hay fever symptoms that relieve the symptoms. So you get eye drops in the pharmacy against itchy and watery eyes. Nasal spray ensures that the nasal mucosa swells and the nose stops running. And special skincare products combat allergic skin reactions. There are also antihistamine tablets that can be taken preventively. They suppress the allergic reaction and thus the hay fever symptoms.
In addition to conventional medicine, alternative treatment methods can also alleviate the various symptoms of hay fever. With acupuncture, for example, an improvement can be observed in some sufferers. Approaches from homeopathy, such as autologous blood therapy, can also help but have not been scientifically proven.
Allergy treatment through hyposensitization
In addition to the various medications to relieve hay fever symptoms, there are various forms of therapy. Many allergy sufferers are turning to the now widespread therapy through hyposensitization (also called desensitization): the doctor injects the allergen under the skin regularly and in increasing doses.
The goal of hyposensitization is that the immune system is less sensitive to the allergens. Instead of syringes, hyposensitization can also be carried out in the form of a drop pollen solution.