Itchy eyes, streaming nose, 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.
What causes hay fever?
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.
Who is affected by hay fever?
One in five people in their lifetime will be affected and the attack on the sinuses can lead to headaches, earache, tiredness and fatigue and a loss of your sense of smell. If you have asthma, you’ll probably feel it even more with a tight chest, shortness of breath, coughing and wheezing.
How can I lessen the symptoms of hay fever?
1. Avoid high levels of pollen
If the pollen count forecast is high, you can avoid the outdoors altogether and stay indoors on sunny days with all the doors and windows closed. But this isn’t practical or fun.
Pollen distribution is higher in the mornings than in the evening and at night, so it’s best to avoid getting the lawnmower out or heading off on a country walk early in the day.
Shower and change after being outdoors, wear sunglasses and rely on air conditioning in the car if possible. You could also get pollen air vents fitted to your vehicle.
Good old-fashioned Vaseline is recommended for smearing inside the nostrils. Vaseline collects and traps pollen, acting as a barrier to stop you from breathing it in. This method can also be used carefully around your eyes to stop itching.
3. Visit a Pharmacy
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 of hay fever.
As well as dispensing medicines, our own on-site Pharmacy can provide information and advice about hay fever medication. Our Pharmacy team constantly reviews stock and newly available medications, particularly those designed to tackle such seasonal illnesses and conditions, to ensure they have the most effective to hand.
We’re 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 carbon dioxide nasal wash out on the market that is a rescue remedy when the situation gets bad.
4. Eating honey
There’s a school of thought that consuming locally produced honey could have an effect on your immunity and therefore reduce the symptoms of hay fever.
It needs to be produced within a three-mile radius of where you live or work because that’s 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.
Speak to our ear, nose and throat (ENT) experts
Published on 20 June 2022