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Hay fever

When to Seek Medical Care

Call your health care provider if you experience any of the following:

  • Symptoms that do not improve with self-treatment
  • Fever that does not subside
  • Nasal secretions that are colored, thickened, or bloody
  • Sore throat that gets worse
  • Earache  or ear discharge

Go to the hospital emergency department if you experience any of the following in conjunction with an allergic reaction:

  • Very high fever
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Uncontrolled bleeding
  • Discharge from the ear or severe earache

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Self-Care at Home

Avoid known or suspected allergens.

Hay fever symptoms lend themselves to home treatment.

  • Gargle with warm salt water, 1-2 tablespoons of table salt in 8 ounces of warm water, to soothe a mildly sore throat. Take nonprescription antihistamines such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) to relieve symptoms of sneezing, runny nose, and itchy throat and eyes. Caution - these medications may make you too drowsy to drive a car or operate machinery safely.
  • For stuffy nose, a combination of an antihistamine and a decongestant such as pseudoephedrine (Sudafed, Actifed) may work better.
Prevention
  • You can't prevent hay fever altogether, but you can learn to cope with it.
  • Follow the treatment recommendations of your health care provider. The medications are very effective but may take several days to reach full effectiveness.
  • Moving to a new part of the country usually doesn't help. People who do this often find themselves with new allergies within a few years.
  • Use air conditioning and limit outside exposure during hay fever season.
  • Allergy shots may help reduce the severity of your symptoms.
  • To keep from bringing your allergy indoors, do what you can to keep your home free of mold and other allergens.

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