Learn about the causes of Hay Fever & find a practitioner in Auckland, Hamilton, Bay of Plenty, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin to help you overcome Hay Fever within New Zealand.
Hay fever, also known as seasonal allergic rhinitis, is caused by the pollen of seasonal plants or other substances present in the air. The symptoms of hay fever include sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion and itchy eyes. Hay fever usually occurs from early spring through to the summer but can affect people all year round.
Hay fever is caused by an allergic reaction to pollen. Pollen is
usually a harmless substance, but when someone with an allergy comes
into contact with pollen their immune system believes it is under
attack and produces an antibody to help defend against it. The
antibody, called immunoglobulin E, triggers further chemical releases
(including histamine) and the effect of this gives symptoms similar to
The majority of hay fever sufferers are allergic to grass pollens that are released in the summer months. However, hay fever season begins in March when the main problem for hay fever sufferers comes from tree pollen. Trees such as the silver birch and oak release their pollen up until May during the warm, dry and windy days. Grass pollens are then present from May to August.
Weed and fungal spore pollen affects hay fever sufferers from August to November and then the winter offers a few months respite before the process starts all over again. Environmental pollution from cars and smoke can also make hay fever worse. People with a family history (genetic predisposition) of other allergic diseases such as eczema and asthma are also likely to suffer with hay fever.
A GP can make a diagnosis from symptoms and time of year they are present. Hay fever that lasts all year round (known as perennial allergic rhinitis) may be caused by other substances such as house dust mites, animal fur or foods. Skin and blood tests may be used to determine the exact cause of the allergic reaction. With a skin test, the skin is pricked with the substance that is believed to be the cause of the allergy.