So far, you have never experienced hay fever symptoms. But, this year you have a constant runny nose and congestion, itchy and watery eyes, and perhaps a cough and a sore throat too. If it doesn’t get better like a cold would, you might wonder ‘can you suddenly develop hay fever?’
The short answer is yes. You can suddenly get hay fever, even if you have never experienced it before.
Hay fever typically starts in childhood and continues throughout life. But for some, hay fever can suddenly develop.
Why are more Middle-Aged and Elderly People getting Hay Fever for the first time?
Well, nobody knows exactly why. But there are a few possible suggestions:
Less Tolerant to other Allergens – You were tolerant to pollen in the past, but now that tolerance has changed. This could be due to other types of allergens in the air that put your body on ‘alert’ and triggers a response to pollen. For example, if you have moved to a different area where there is more air pollution.
Immune System Changes – As people age, changes occur to the body. There could be some link between physiological changes and and the immune system’s sensitivity to pollen.
Pollen Cross-Reactions – Another fascinating fact about pollen is that sensitivity to one type can lead to sensitivity of another. So, for example, you visit another country and get hay fever from the pollen of a local plant. Them when you get home, you suddenly have allergy symptoms when in contact with another type of pollen, such as ash tree, when you never did before. This is because some pollen types cause a cross-reaction with others. This could account for why some suddenly develop hay fever when they never had before.
How to Treat Hay Fever Symptoms
Hay fever symptoms can make you feel irritated, tired and grumpy. It stops you from being able to enjoy spending time outside during the best months of the year, and this can have an effect on mental well-being. Thankfully, there are ways to manage hay fever symptoms.
Over the Counter Hay Fever Medicines
Once-per-day hay fever tablets include antihistamines that help stop the immune system from producing an allergic response to pollen. They start working in just 15-20 minutes.
It doesn’t matter what time of day you take it, but some people prefer to take at night. This is so congestion is eased over night, helping with a good night’s rest. Plus, pollen counts are higher in the mornings, so you are already dosed when you wake.
Medicated eye drops can soothe the inflamed, swollen tissue around the eyes, as well as flushing out stuck pollen grains. Top Tip: Keep eye drops in the fridge so they are extra soothing and cooling when applied.
If your hay fever allergy continues when you are indoors at home, an air purifier can work to remove pollen and other allergens from the air. Use in the bedroom to help create a zone that s free of pollen, helping to to get relief from symptoms and a good sleep.
Some air purifiers are small enough to fit on a desk, or there are larger ones for open plan, or spacious rooms.
Dry Washing Indoors
Hanging washing out to dry can mean pesky pollen on the surface. Where possible, dry clothes, towels and bed linen indoors.
Supplements to Help with Hay Fever Symptoms
Vitamin C – One of the best food supplements you can take for hay fever is vitamin C. Go all out on the pure orange, add lemon juice to dishes, or simply use a vitamin C capsule.
Stinging Nettle – An effective natural antihistamine that could help relieve hay fever symptoms. While you can go out and collect this plant yourself, it is much easier (and less stingy) to buy stinging nettle in convenient capsule form.
Quercetin – This is an antioxidant naturally found in produce such as apples and onions. It helps to reduce inflammation, lessening the effects of congestion. So, an apple a day may help to keep hay fever away!
It can be confusing when you suddenly develop hay fever, when it has never bothered you before. You may mistake hay fever symptoms for a lingering summer cold, or be concerned about increased tiredness.
Hay fever allergy can strike at any time of life. If you have tried over-the-counter hay fever medicines but are still suffering, then make an appointment to see your doctor. There are stronger treatments available, or they may be able to give you more information on alternative treatments.
Have you suddenly developed hay fever after never experiencing it before? Please share your experience with other readers in the comments!