Hay fever is thought to affect one in four people in the UK. It tends to be more prevalent in the spring and summer months due to higher levels of pollen from trees and grass being present in the air.
When people with hay fever are exposed to pollen, it triggers the immune system to release histamine and other chemicals in the body to ‘fight’ the pollen as it would do with a virus, this can result in irritation and inflammation of the nose, eyes, throat and sinuses. It is common for hay fever sufferers to experience sneezing, nasal congestion and itchy eyes & throat.
However, did you know it can also affect your ears?
Hay fever can cause the skin in the ear canals to become itchy. Although it is tempting to scratch any itch, the skin inside the ear canal is very delicate and if the itch is due to an allergic reaction, scratching will not provide relief, but can lead to additional irritation and infection in the ear canal.
Hay fever can also cause issues behind the eardrum in the middle ear. The Eustachian tube is a channel connecting the middle ear to the upper section of the throat. It opens when we swallow to maintain normal air pressure levels and drain fluid away. Hay fever can cause swelling or even blockage of the Eustachian tube, resulting in a feeling of fullness/pressure, a temporary reduction in hearing levels and sometimes infection.
Most symptoms of hay fever can be alleviated with over-the-counter medications recommended by a Pharmacist, in some cases, people with more severe or long-lasting symptoms may need to see a GP or ENT specialist.
For further information on Private GP and ENT services at Kingsbridge Private Hospital, please click here.
If you have any concerns and would like to speak to a member of our Audiology team, please contact us at your nearest location:
Belfast – 028 9066 7030
Newtownabbey – 028 9085 9900
Holywood – 028 9085 9900
Donaghadee – 028 9188 418