Relieving seasonal allergies. Hay fever is a catchall term for allergic reactions to pollen from grass, trees, weeds, flowers, spores, or molds. The worst offender is ragweed pollen, which, depending on where you live, is in the air from late summer to early November. Dust and animal dander (particles of shed skin, fur, and feathers) also may bring on hay fever.
Symptoms are sneezing, wheezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes. A recurring or extremely tenacious “cold” may actually be hay fever.
The best treatment for any allergy is avoiding the problem substance. Stay out of woods, fields, or gardens while your hay fever is active; vacation, if you can, in a pollen-free area. Overthe-counter antihistamines and decongestants may help; if not, check with your doctor about prescription drugs. Shots to desensitize you to the responsible allergen may work, but they are costly and bothersome. The newest treatment is by inhaled drugs.