It's that time of year again when those suffering from hay fever are reaching for the tissues. Hay fever is a common condition, with more than 10 million people suffering in the UK. But what exactly is hay fever, and how can we manage it on a day to day basis?
What is hay fever?
Hay fever is a common allergic reaction known as seasonal rhinitis. It occurs due to a reaction to pollen from grass, trees and weeds during the early spring and summer months. Symptoms include:
- Itchy eyes/throat
- Sneezing, blocked/runny nose
- Watering, red eyes
- Headaches or blocked sinuses
- Shortness of breath
- The sensation of mucus running down the back of the throat, which can also be a symptom, is called 'post-nasal drip.'
How can I manage my hay fever?
There are ways to try and manage your symptoms and exposure to pollen. Here are some tips that you can try:
- Monitor pollen forecasts daily and stay indoors wherever possible when the count is high. Counts should be lower on cooler, wet days.
- On high pollen days, shower and wash your hair after arriving home and change your clothing.
- Avoid drying washing outside when pollen counts are high.
- Speak to your pharmacists or GP about using antihistamines if your symptoms are severe.
- Apply an effective allergen barrier balm around the edge of each nostril to trap or block pollens.
- Keep windows and doors of your home closed.
- Wear sunglasses and a hat outside to help protect your eyes from pollen.
- If you wear contact lenses, consider switching to glasses for better comfort, particularly when outside.
- Use eyes drops to alleviate symptoms - speak to your optometrist for further advice.
Top tips for managing your hay fever (allergyuk.org)
College of Optometrists issues advice for hay fever suffers as soaring temperatures continue (college-optometrists.org)
Tips for Hay Fever, From Opticians | Eyesite Opticians