How to Avoid Hay Fever this Summer
Hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen grains or spores produced by trees, grass, flowers and moulds. It commonly occurs between early spring and autumn but, for those allergic to certain tree pollens, symptoms can start as early as January.
‘Do you find that you suffer from a runny nose, itchy eyes or sneezing during the Spring or Summer?’
If you do, there is a good chance that you are suffering from hay fever. This is a common allergic condition that affects up to one in five people at some point in their life. It is estimated that more than 10 million people in England suffer from hay fever each year ... so you’re not alone!
The main symptoms of hay fever are:
- Runny nose
- Itchy eyes
These symptoms are caused by an allergic reaction to pollen. Pollen is a fine powder released by plants and it contains proteins that can cause the eyes, throat, nose and sinuses to become swollen, irritated and inflamed.
People can be allergic to different types of pollen, including:
- Tree pollen that is released during Spring
- Grass pollen that is released from the end of Spring to early Summer
- Weed pollen that is released at any time from early Spring to late Autumn
- Unfortunately there is no cure for hay fever; however there are lots of over-the-counter medicines available from your pharmacy that can help relieve your symptoms.
There are different treatment options available from your pharmacy to manage your symptoms, including antihistamine tablets, eye drops and nose sprays.
Antihistamines work by preventing the allergic reaction from happening. Some nose sprays contain corticosteroids and these help reduce inflammation and swelling.
Many people find that their symptoms improve as they get older and some may find they disappear completely.
The most effective way to minimise hay fever symptoms is to try to avoid exposure to pollen; this can be difficult during the summer months when we enjoy spending time outdoors.
Some useful self help tips include:
- Staying indoors when the pollen count is especially high; many weather forecasts during the Spring and Summer months will give an indication of high pollen counts
- When outdoors, wear wraparound sunglasses to prevent pollen from getting into your eyes
- After being outdoors, change your clothes and have a shower to remove any pollen from your body
If your hay fever symptoms are severe and disrupt your everyday life, it might be worth speaking to your GP. Before visiting your GP, you can visit your local Alphega Pharmacy and try treating your hay fever symptoms with over the counter medicines, such as antihistamines.
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