Hay Fever

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Understanding Hay Fever

Our immune system has one important job, defending our body from invaders like harmful viruses and bacteria. To fulfill its job, it needs to identify alien substances and release antibodies that deliver a message to the cells to stop the foreign substance. In response, the cells release histamine, leukotrienes, and other chemicals.

As long as the immune system is attacking dangerous substances, the body functions normally. However, if it starts attacking harmless substances, then the condition is called Allergy. Also, the substance that causes the allergic reaction is called an allergen.

There are different types of allergies caused by different types of allergens. In this article, we are going to talk about Hay Fever or Allergic Rhinitis – an allergic reaction to allergens like pollen, mold spores, and dust mites. While some people have this allergy from a very young age, you can develop it at any stage of your life.

The actual cause of allergies is not known. But many medical professionals associate it with a weak immune system. Hence, people living a sedentary lifestyle are usually more prone to allergies like hay fever.

Hay fever is normally treated with anti-allergy medicines and other drugs to manage the symptoms. However, some people can experience severe symptoms that might require immediate hospitalisation and specialised medical care. This can increase the costs and cause a strain on your finances. Without a comprehensive health insurance policy that covers a range of diseases and illnesses, these costs can make it difficult to manage medical emergencies.

With a health insurance plan from Tata AIG, you can be assured of comprehensive coverage, hassle-free claim settlement, top-notch customer service, and assurance from an insurance provider of repute. You can also opt for critical illness insurance to receive exhaustive financial coverage for critical illnesses like cancer, cardiovascular diseases, etc.

In this article, we will talk about the symptoms, causes, treatment, and importance of a health insurance plan for Hay Fever.

Hay Fever Meaning

Allergic Rhinitis, or hay fever, is a common allergy to pollen faced by many people. Many plants release pollen in the air for reproduction. Some people develop an allergy to pollen, causing a range of symptoms that are similar to those caused by the common cold.

While in most people, this is a mild allergic reaction, in some cases, patients can experience severe symptoms too.

Types of Hay Fever

There are more than 30 types of pollen that can cause hay fever. Each of these pollens can cause different symptoms, and the severity of the allergic reaction can vary too. Also, some people can be allergic to more than one type of pollen, making the symptoms complex and a little difficult to treat. Broadly, hay fever can be categorised into two types:

1.Seasonal: Some people have an allergy to specific pollen. Hence, when the pollen counts are high, they develop a reaction. While staying indoors is a good way to prevent an allergic reaction, it is not always possible. However, with adequate precautions, they can avoid exposure to the allergen.

2.Perennial: Some people develop an allergy to indoor allergens like pet dander, dust mites, etc. This allergy can affect people all through the year with mild symptoms that last long.

Hay Fever Symptoms

When our body identifies a substance as an allergen, it takes steps to prevent its entry. With hay fever, the harmful substance is the pollen that enters our body through the nose. Hence, the allergic reaction is around our respiratory system. Here are some common symptoms:

Regular sneezing: Patients might experience regular bouts of sneezing as the body attempts to expel the allergens before entering the system. The mucous membranes are irritated, causing the person to sneeze.

Excess mucous: The body produces more mucous in response to the allergen entering the body. This can result in a stuffy or runny nose.

Irritation in the throat or mouth: The allergic reaction can also cause itchiness in the throat, mouth, and even ears.

Watery eyes: When the body identifies a substance as an allergen, it releases histamine that can irritate the eyes. It can cause the eyes to water or even itch.

Throat irritation: This is primarily caused by a post-nasal drip. Since the body creates excess mucous, it can drip down the back of the throat and irritate it.

Some people might experience other symptoms like a headache, fatigue, sinus pain, hives, or difficulty in detecting odours. It is important to identify how your body responds to allergens and contact a medical professional immediately.

Hay Fever Causes

While pollen is the most common one, hay fever is caused by a range of allergens, including:

Different types of pollen:

  • Tree pollen

  • Grass pollen

  • Weed pollen

  • Pet dander

  • Dust mites

  • Mold spores

  • Cockroach dust

For some people, irritants like cigarette smoke, diesel exhaust fumes, and perfumes can make the symptoms more severe.

Risk Factors

While hay fever can affect anyone at any age, here are some factors that increase the risk of hay fever:

  • People suffering from asthma or other allergies are at a higher risk of developing hay fever

  • In some studies, it has been found that people with atopic dermatitis are more prone to developing hay fever

  • People with a sibling or parent with asthma or allergies are at a higher risk of developing hay fever

  • Exposure to allergens like dust mites or animal dander due to working in a specific environment

  • Exposure to strong odours and smoke that can irritate the inner lining of the nose

Hay Fever Diagnosis

Diagnosing an allergy requires a careful understanding of the medical history of the patient along with some lab tests. Here is how medical professionals diagnose hay fever:

Understanding symptoms and patient history

Medical professionals understand the symptoms and the medical history of the patient. They try to assess the living and working environment to determine potential allergens. Further, a look into the medical history of the patient and the existence of any allergies in the family can help determine the possibility of hay fever.

Lab tests

If the medical professional suspects the possibility of hay fever, allergy testing is recommended to confirm it. There are two lab tests to confirm hay fever:

1.Skin Prick Test: The doctor places a small amount of allergen on the skin and pricks it to help it enter the body. If the patient is allergic to the substance, then within 20 minutes, a skin reaction will be evident.

2.Blood test: Patients suffering from hay fever will have high IgE antibodies. These antibodies are released in response to an allergen and cause the release of histamine.

Hay Fever Treatment

It is important to remember that there is no cure for hay fever. This means that once someone develops an allergy to certain pollen, there is no medicine to cure the allergy. While building immunity over time is the best solution, medical professionals help patients manage the symptoms effectively. Here are some treatment options for hay fever:

Antihistamines: Doctors might prescribe antihistamines to reduce the effects of histamine produced by your body in response to the allergen. Histamine is responsible for the allergic reaction in your body. These medicines help reduce the severity of allergic responses.

Nasal sprays: If the patient is suffering from a blocked or runny nose in response to the allergen, the doctor might prescribe a nasal spray to reduce inflammation of the nasal passages.

Nasal decongestants: The doctor might prescribe additional medicines or sprays to decongest the nasal area.

Other medicines: Based on the symptoms, the doctor might prescribe medicines that can help relieve the symptoms of hay fever.

Preventing Hay Fever

The best way to prevent hay fever is to avoid exposure to pollen. However, since pollen is an airborne allergen, avoiding it completely might not always be possible. Here are some tips to help you prevent hay fever:

Wear a mask: While this used to be socially awkward some years ago, post-Covid, wearing a mask is not considered weird anymore. If you have a history of hay fever, make sure you wear a mask outside as soon as the pollen season starts. This can help reduce your exposure to the allergen.

Prefer staying indoors: Identify the days when the pollen count in the air is the highest. These are typically the days that are dry and windy. Avoid going outdoors on such days; even if you have to, wear a mask and take other precautions to avoid pollen exposure.

Use air conditioners: Close all the doors and windows and use an air conditioner during the pollen season. This can help keep pollen out of your home and avoid exposure.

Immunotherapy: Some doctors might recommend immunotherapy to help you build resistance to the allergen over time. In this therapy, you are exposed to small amounts of the allergen over time to allow your body to build a fighting response to it. It has been known to reduce the severity of hay fever symptoms.

Preventive medication: If you have a history of hay fever, then talk to your doctor about taking any medicines that can help prevent the onset of the symptoms.

Why Use a Medical Insurance Plan?

Hay fever medicine and treatment are usually not very expensive. However, if the symptoms increase in severity, then you might have to be hospitalised and undergo specialised medical care. This can put a strain on your finances.

When you opt for a medical insurance plan from Tata AIG, you get a range of benefits, including:

Comprehensive coverage: With Tata AIG’s health insurance policy, you get quick access to medical professionals for the treatment of hay fever. You also get coverage for hospitalisation and other treatment for severe cases.

Cashless hospitalisation: Tata AIG offers cashless claim settlement with its health insurance plans. Therefore, if you need to be hospitalised due to severe hay fever symptoms and get admitted to one of our 7200+ network hospitals, you don’t have to pay anything to the hospital. We settle your bills directly with the hospital administration.

Cost-efficient policies: With Tata AIG, you can be assured of highly cost-efficient policies offering you the maximum value for your money. You can also reduce the premium amount without compromising the coverage by choosing copayment or voluntary deductible.

High claim settlement ratio: At Tata AIG, we offer an easy and quick claim settlement process. Additionally, we have always maintained a high claim settlement ratio (94.21% in FY 2020-21). This stands as a testament to our commitment to customer service

Health Insurance Tax Benefits

The Income Tax Act, under Section 80D, offers tax benefits to people paying health insurance premiums. These benefits include tax deductions of the amount paid as the premium and spent towards preventive health check-ups for you and your family, and a separate policy for dependent parents.

How to Buy Tata AIG’s Health Insurance?

Here is a quick look at the process to buy TATA AIG health insurance:

Online Process

  • Visit https://www.tataaig.com

  • Go to the Health Insurance Page or navigate to the page by scrolling to the top menu on the home page and clicking on All Products >> Health Insurance

  • Decide if you want to opt for an individual policy or include your family members in it. If you choose the latter, then select the members that you would like to include

  • Enter the date of birth of each covered member and your contact details

  • Click on “See Plans”

  • Choose the best plan for your needs

  • Select the right sum insured. Remember, a high sum insured would mean a higher claim amount but a higher premium and vice-versa.

  • Click on ‘Buy Now’

  • We will call you to complete the buying process

Offline purchase:

  • Visit the nearest Tata AIG office

  • Meet our representative

  • Explain your requirements and we will offer some plans to you

  • Choose the best plan after going through them in detail

  • Select the sum insured carefully

  • Fill out the required forms and attach the necessary documents

  • Pay the fees

Documents Needed to Buy Tata AIG’s Medical Insurance Plan

When you decide to buy a health insurance policy from us, you will be required to submit certain key documents to establish your identity and other aspects. We might also ask for some specific documents based on your application to ensure that we have the right information before offering coverage.

While the final list of documents is usually different for many applicants, here is a common list that you need to have ready before applying:

Age Proof: Aadhar Card, passport, etc.

Address Proof: Utility bill, bank statement, etc.

Identity Proof: PAN Card, Aadhar Card, etc.

Medical History: Doctor’s reports and test results of any pre-existing disease

Other documents: IT returns, proof of income, etc.

What to Look for in a Health Insurance Plan?

If you start experiencing severe hay fever symptoms, then immediate hospitalisation is the only choice. You might also have to call for an ambulance and manage all the costs yourself unless you have a health insurance policy that covers these costs. It is important to understand the scope and extent of the coverage you are buying. Here are some essential things to look for in a health insurance plan:

What amount are you being covered for?

Every health insurance policy has a maximum limit of coverage. If your bills increase beyond this limit, then you have to bear the costs. This is the sum insured. Medical treatments and hospitalisation costs vary based on your place and the hospitals you prefer. Make sure that you have an estimate of the medical emergency costs in your area and choose the sum insured accordingly.

Can you reduce the premium without compromising the coverage?

Many insurers offer copayment and voluntary deductible options to policyholders. These options allow them to reduce the premium liability by agreeing to pay a certain amount at the time of every claim. Hence, they reduce the liability of the insurer, which reflects in a lower premium. So, they can get optimum coverage for a lower premium but increase their liability during medical emergencies.

Are hospitals close to you on the insurer’s list of network hospitals?

Many insurers offer cashless claim settlement if you get treated at a network hospital. However, if these hospitals are far away from your place of residence, then you might not be able to reach them during emergencies. Therefore, it is important to look for an insurer that has hospitals close to you on its list of network hospitals.

Things to Remember when Filing a Claim for Hay Fever

The purpose of buying a medical insurance policy is to get coverage during medical emergencies. Hence, it is important to understand the claim settlement process offered by the insurer before buying the plan. Most insurers offer two ways of settling claims: cashless and reimbursement. Here are the details:

1: Cashless claim settlement

If you wish to avail of the cashless claim settlement offered by Tata AIG, you must go through the list of network hospitals. It is important to remember that cashless claim settlement is only offered if the policyholder gets treated at a network hospital.

In this settlement, Tata AIG settles the bills directly with the hospital, and you don’t have to pay anything upfront. Here are some things to remember for cashless claim settlement:

Pre-planned treatment: If your doctor has been preparing you for a medical procedure or treatment, then make sure that you inform us at least five days before getting admitted. This will allow you enough time to get approval for cashless treatment at the network hospital.

Medical Emergency: If you are faced with a medical emergency and have to get admitted immediately, then make sure that you inform us within 24 hours of admission to get approval for cashless treatment.

02: Reimbursement claim settlement

Some insurers do not offer cashless claim settlements. Even if your insurance provider offers the facility, you might want to get treated at a hospital that does not feature on the list of network hospitals of the insurer.

In such cases, you must pay for the treatment and hospitalisation and claim it later from the insurer. Here are some things to remember for reimbursement claim settlement:

  • Make sure that your insurance provider is aware of the decision. At Tata AIG, you can talk to our claim experts 24x7 to understand the reimbursement claim requirements, including the documents needed and the process to be followed.

  • Make sure that you adhere to the process and submit the documents as specified

  • File the claim as soon as you are discharged from the hospital

Here are some additional tips for hay fever claims:

  • Expired policies do not offer coverage. Hence, make sure that your policy is active and in force before starting the treatment

  • Go through the inclusions, exclusions, and terms of the policy to understand the extent of coverage offered by the insurance provider

  • Follow the claims process meticulously

Disclaimer / TnC

Your policy is subjected to terms and conditions & inclusions and exclusions mentioned in your policy wording. Please go through the documents carefully.

Q1. Is Hay Fever contagious?

Q1. Is Hay Fever contagious?


Hay fever is an allergic reaction of a body to a harmless substance. It is not caused by a virus or bacteria. Therefore, it is not contagious.

Q2. Can hay fever cause hives?


Hay fever can cause different symptoms in different people. While hives are not a common symptom of hay fever, some people might experience it as an allergic reaction in the body. Make sure to talk to your doctor to find the cause of the hives.

Q3. Do I need a separate health insurance policy for hay fever?


Most health insurance policies cover allergies, including hay fever, in the coverage offered. However, it is important to go through the policy documents carefully and talk to the insurance provider to confirm.

Q4. Will health insurance cover the cost of allergy shots for hay fever?


Many people opt for immunotherapy to build immunity to the known allergens affecting them. This is done by administering allergy shots in small doses. Most insurance policies cover the costs of these shots. However, make sure to check the policy documents for inclusions and exclusions of the policy.