Hay fever is the most common allergic disease. In Germany, 14.8 percent of adults are affected. It is commonly referred to as symptoms that resemble a cold with which many people react to flying pollen in spring. But not only tree, grass, herb or cereal pollen can trigger an allergic cold or allergic rhinitis – as it is called intechnical terms – but also animal hair, molds or house dust mites. Then the symptoms occur not only seasonally, but often all year round.

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In brief: The term hay fever comes from the observation that the handling of hay leads to discomfort in people with grass pollen allergies - due to the pollen present in the hay. The word hay fever is also mostly used for allergies to tree pollen, which fly earlier in the year than grass pollen. ...more

Symptoms: The main symptoms of hay fever are as follows: runny nose, itchy and stuffy nose, frequent sneezing as well as watery and inflamed eyes. In addition, those affected often feel exhausted, complain of headaches, tiredness or loss of appetite. Skin reactions can also accompany hay fever symptoms.  ...more

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Prevalence: Allergies such as hay fever are a health problem in the western industrial nations, and as prosperity increases, so do the rates of illness in developing countries. In Germany, about one sixth of the population is affected by pollen allergy. ...more

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Risk factors: A combination of genetic predisposition and harmful environmental influences triggers allergies such as hay fever. Children whose parents already suffer from hay fever or another allergy have a significantly higher risk of developing an allergy themselves. But pollutants also seem to influence the development of allergies. ...more

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Diagnosis: In addition to a thorough medical history of the patient (anamnesis), skin tests, laboratory tests and so-called challenge tests are available in order to determine the substance triggering the hay fever symptoms. ...more

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Therapy: If the allergen cannot be avoided, a number of medications are available. Some medications can alleviate symptoms. In many cases, specific immunotherapy is useful as a causative treatment. … more

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Prevention: Breastfeeding in the first four months after birth, normal body weight and avoiding tobacco smoke are important prevention measures. If you already have hay fever, you can prevent symptoms by avoiding allergens as best you can. … more

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Research approaches: Many stages of the process leading to the development of an allergy are not yet fully understood. There are promising approaches in cell biology, genetic research and prevention research. …more