A hay fever survival guide not to be sniffed at
Itchy eyes, streaming noise, sneezing fits and an irritated throat
Unfortunately, not everyone looks forward to the warmer weather as hay fever hits and people with the greatest sensitivity can be struck three out of the four seasons.
The allergic reaction to airborne pollen will be caused by trees in the spring, grass in the summer and weeds in the autumn so the onslaught is relentless and debilitating.
One in five people in their lifetime will be affected and the attack on the sinuses can lead to headaches, ear ache, tiredness and fatigue and a loss of the sense of smell. If you have asthma, you are potentially going to feel it all the more with a tight chest, shortness of breath, coughing and wheezing.
All in all, miserable.
Of course, you can avoid the outdoors altogether, sat at home on sunny days when the pollen count forecast is a picture of red for high levels with all windows and doors closed. But this is not practical or fun.
Good old-fashioned Vaseline is recommended for smearing inside the nostrils to prevent pollen entry. And pollen distribution is higher in the mornings and evening and night so best avoid getting the lawnmower out then or heading off on a country walk.
The chemist is always well-stocked with medications for people to try as a preventative measure and to lessen the symptoms once a sufferer is in the grip.
Benenden’s new pharmacy manager Andrew Turton said: “We are open for advice and guidance for people and hold a range of products. We have oral antihistamines that are both drowsy and non-drowsy, useful if the symptoms are keeping you from sleeping at night and if you need to have a productive day at school or work.
“We also have nasal sprays and eyes drops, which can bring relief from the irritation.”
Decongestants can be taken at the same time to help clear the chest and there is a new carbon dioxide nasal wash out on the market that is a rescue remedy when the situation gets bad.
Benenden’s pharmacy team is constantly reviewing its stocks and new available medications, particularly those designed to tackle such seasonal illnesses and conditions, to ensure they have the most effective to hand.
Shower and change after being outdoors, wear sunglasses and rely on air con in the car if possible at the same time as getting pollen air vents fitted to your vehicle. All can only help.
And there is a sweet treat that is also worth a shot – eating honey. There is a school of thought that consuming locally-produced honey could have an effect on your immunity and therefore reduce the effects of hay fever.
It needs to be produced within a three-mile radius of where you live or work because that is the distance bees can travel to harvest and you need a dose of the pollen and allergens specific to your part of the world.
There are worst treatments than honey in tea, on toast or a dollop on your porridge.