Thankfully I don’t suffer myself, but some of my friends do and they almost hate summer for it. Hay fever is a common allergy to pollens from grass, trees and flowers, and it generally starts at this time of year. The main features are an itchy watery nose (rhinitis), sneezing, and itchy red puffy eyes. It can also cause an itchy throat and cough, as well as aggravating asthma if you have it. Not. Nice. And just last week I realised that hay fever sufferers can’t get eyelash extensions because of the irritability – I think that would tip me over the edge, I live for longer lashes!
Here, Doctor Clare Morrison of Medexpress advises on the best ways to prevent the allergic reactions linked to Hayfever.
In order to prevent the worst of the symptoms, avoid contact with pollens and grasses by keeping away from parks and gardens, particularly when levels are at their highest, in the early morning, evening, and at night. If you do go out, have a shower and change your clothes when you get inside. Keep your windows shut and avoid drying your washing outdoors.
Below are a few treatments to think about:
1. Antihistamines. There are a variety available. Some cause drowsiness, but many don’t, so do check if you are driving or working. One very effective, non-sedating antihistamine, is fexofenadine.
2. Anti-allergy eye drops. These will help treat eye symptoms, such as redness, itching, swelling and watering.
3. Steroid nasal sprays can help with an itchy, runny, or congested nose.
4. Cellulose nasal sprays act by coating the lining of the nose with a barrier film. This help prevents the pollen from coming into direct contact with the nasal surface, reducing the allergic response.
5. Injectable steroid. In severe cases, your GP may prescribe an injectable steroid, which will last for a few weeks, possibly the entire hay fever season. However, it tends to be given as a last resort, because steroids can cause side effects, including weight gain, dyspepsia, raised blood sugar, and osteoporosis (weak bones).
6. 6. Honey. Some people claim that eating honey can help desensitise pollen allergies, because it contains pollen itself. There is some controversy about how effective this is, but if you want to try it, it’s best to eat honey that has been made locally.
So there you have it. Keep safe and fever free.