Hay fever or allergic rhinitis is a condition that shows symptoms similar to a cold such as nasal congestion, sneezing, runny nose and sinus pressures. It affects more than 30% of people around the world, and up to 10% of U.S. kids under 17. One of the most common symptoms is hay fever cough, which isusually caused by postnasal dripping of mucus. This cough can lead to complications, so it is important to speak to your doctor and discuss a treatment option as soon as possible.
What Are the Causes of Hay Fever Cough?
You may experience hay fever coughfor two main reasons. They are:
1. Postnasal Drip
The main culprit causing hay fever cough is postnasal drip. The condition is usually referred to as "postnasal drip syndrome (PNDS)", which has been proved to be the leading cause for chronic coughing. Due to an infection or an allergic reaction, your upper respiratory system produces excess mucus that accumulates in the back of the throat and nose, causing it to drip slowly down into your throat. Your throat becomes dry and feels irritated. This irritation, soreness and dryness then lead to chronic cough.
Throat irritation is often the root cause ofhay fever cough, but it could also be an allergy cough. Sometimes, you're allergic to dust and small particles which stick to your throat that produces a tickling sensation. This feeling may induce a chronic cough. It is worth mentioning that sometimes you don't have dry cough allergies,but the cough is mainly due to asthma, especially if you're also experiencing labored breathing. See your doctor to confirm the real cause of trouble.
When Does Hay Fever Cough Usually Happen?
You may experience coughing whenever you become the victim of hay fever. You will have allergic rhinitis whenever you're exposed to certain allergens, including pollen, ragweed, animal protein, mold spores, dust mites, etc. As trees pollinate in the spring, so this is the period when you're more likely to develop allergic rhinitis, which is almost always accompanied by hay fever cough. It is a good idea to know the exact pollen count in your area to prevent hay fever cough. You can refer to the weather section in the newspaper or directly go to the National Allergy Bureau's website (www.aaaai.org/nab/index.cfm) for everyday information.
What Are the Complications of Hay Fever Cough?
Many people don't take coughing seriously, but that's not the right thing to do. It often leaves debilitating effects on your body and leads to severe secondary complications. One of the most common issues is that it disturbs your sleep patterns and often keeps you awake at night. Lack of sleep will lead to irritability and tiredness. It may also affect your concentration level and interfere with your ability to perform day-to-day jobs.
Severe chronic coughing can sometimes lead to headaches and cracked ribs. In the situation of cracked ribs, the coughing becomes even more painful, and you have to live with it because you can do nothing but to wait for the rib to heal itself. What's more, chronic hay fever cough may produce other problems, including shortness of breath, feeling of being unwell, dizziness, urinary incontinence and more.
How Can I Know My Cough Is Caused by Hay Fever?
It's never easy to identify what's causing your cough; therefore, it is important that you get in touch with your physician and find out the exact cause of the persistent cough. Your doctor may check for other hay fever symptoms to get to a conclusion. The sound of your cough will also give important information. You may have a dry cough if it's due to the irritants in your throat, or you may have a wet cough if it's caused by postnasal drip. So, visit your doctorright now if your persistent cough is making your life difficult.
How Is Hay Fever Cough Treated?
A vast array of over-the-counter and prescription medications are now available for treating cough and other hay fever symptoms. The ACCP (American College of Chest Physicians) believes that antihistamines (Zyrtec, Benadryl) and decongestants (Sudafed, Mucinex) are the most effective treatment options for hay fever. It is important that you use decongestants under the supervision of your doctor because prolonged use may make you dependant on these sprays and lead to other complications as well.
2. Home Remedies
You can also make use of certain home remedies to ease your persistent cough. For instance:
- Feast on a warm drink of lemon and honey to reduce irritation in your throat. It's not for long-term relief, but the use of lemon disinfects your throat and makes you feel better.
- Keep drinking water to avoid dry and irritated throat. It also flushes pollen that may have stuck to your palette and throat.
- Take some rest. Be sure to avoid smoky or dry atmosphere, and stay inside when the pollen count is on the higher side. Take enough rest at home.