Hayfever is an allergy to inhaled pollen particles. Some peoples noses react to these inhaled particles seeing them as the ‘enemy’ and unnecessarily fighting them using the immune system. In sensitive individuals, those with hayfever, the particles trigger the release of histamine causing swelling and inflammation inside the nose, itching, sneezing and watery nasal discharge.
Most people know if they have hayfever as their symptoms manifest themselves when the pollen count is high. Those with allergies to other inhaled particles such as house dust mites, pet hair and mould spores tend to have their symptoms all year round.
In order to find out if there are any allergies a skin prick allergy test can be performed whereby a variety of different inhaled allergens are scratched on to the arm. If the body is allergic a visible red ‘wheal and flare’ reaction can be seen.