The Annual Scourge of Hay Fever

May 6, 2020 2:14 pm



The spring and summer months mark the beginning of a great deal of suffering for those unfortunate enough to have hay fever. Itchy, swollen eyes, a running nose and tight chest are experienced almost daily for sufferers of the allergy. Right when we should be getting outdoors to enjoy the better weather, we are stuck inside hiding from the plants and flowers. What can be done to alleviate the symptoms?

The allergy to airborne pollen and fungal spores is experienced by up to a quarter of the UK population, meaning the warmer weather brings misery to many. Sufferers experience sneezing, congestion, watery and sore eyes, sinus pain and coughing. It’s hard to sleep and to function when the symptoms show no sign of easing. Those who are highly allergic will still suffer symptoms even when the pollen count is fairly low. Those who don’t usually suffer from hay fever can also experience some symptoms if they’ve been outdoors during a very high pollen count.

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Trees in the UK go through their pollination stage from the end of March to the middle of May. Grass pollination occurs from mid-May to July, and then the weeds have their turn from June to mid-September. That is a very long season if you were to suffer from allergies to all types of pollen. Thankfully, most people will only react to one type. When your symptoms start depends on the type of pollen you are allergic to.

Unfortunately, airborne pollen can get everywhere so it’s very hard to avoid the triggers. When the pollen count is very high, it’s best to stay indoors with the windows closed. You can also apply Vaseline just below your nostrils to prevent pollen from entering your nose. Shower regularly and change your clothes when you get in from being outside. Keep car windows closed and wear sunglasses. You can even get pollen filters for the air vents of your vehicle.

If you can escape to the coast, then you’ll be more comfortable as the sea breeze blows pollen further inland away from the coast. Fitting laminate flooring is another idea for heavy sufferers as pollen gets trapped in carpets, as well as dust mites and dust which can also exacerbate allergies.

Antihistamine tablets work for many people, but it might be best to avoid ones that make you drowsy, unless you really need a good night’s sleep. You can also purchase nasal sprays containing antihistamines, but these will only relieve your nasal congestion and won’t help eyes or chest.

For those who suffer considerably, steroids and antihistamines in a nasal spray combination can prove an effective treatment. They can effectively stop symptoms but only if the treatment is started early enough. The nasal sprays will reduce inflammation and stop the pollen from triggering an allergic reaction.

An over the counter decongestant nasal spray will work quicker than an oral one but can only be used for a week. Any use longer than a week can result in the opposite effect and becoming more congested than you were before.