Many of you who have been lifelong sufferers of Hay fever, won't need reminding of its detrimental effects on your body, but for those of you who don't know, Hay fever is a form of allergic rhinitis which causes cold like symptoms, but unlike a cold, Hay fever isn't caused by contracting a virus, it is a seasonal condition that is usually more common between late March and September.
What are the symptoms of Hay fever?
Symptoms can include:
- Persistent sneezing or coughing
- A runny or blocked stuffy nose
- A sore, irritated throat, mouth, nose or ears
- Sore, itchy, red and watery eyes
- A decrease in your sense of smell
- Feeling tired
Those who suffer from asthma may also experience:
- A tight feeling in your chest
- Shortness of breath
- Wheezing and coughing
"Hay fever will last for weeks or months, unlike a cold, which usually goes away after 1 to 2 weeks." ~ NHS UK
So now we know what causes Hay fever and it’s symptoms, how can you get rid of it?
Well, here’s the bad news, you can’t completely rid yourself of Hay fever once you have started to develop its symptoms, all you can do is try to ease and manage the condition and be aware of when the pollen count is high, so that you can be pre-prepared to treat it.
Antihistamines are usually a Hay fever sufferers best friend when symptoms strike. Although they’re not a complete cure, they do provide significant relief. Also, nasal sprays, such as Dymista, and eye drops are usually a good compliment to regular antihistamine use.
In severe cases (such as those of you who suffer from asthma) steroid tablets or injections can be used, but only for a short time.
What else can you do to ease your symptoms?
As well as medication, you can also take the following preventative measures to ease your symptoms, especially when the pollen count is particularly high.
- Put a small amount of Vaseline into your nostrils to trap pollen
- Shower and change your clothes regularly (especially when you have been outside) to wash pollen off
- Stay indoors as often as you can
- Vacuum and dust your home environment on a regular basis
- Keep your windows and doors shut as much as possible
- Buy a pollen filter for the air vent of your car
- Get a HEPA Filter for your vacuum cleaner
Are there any Hay fever myths that you should know about?
Well, you may be surprised to know that there are quite a lot of hay fever myths hanging around, that may be making your symptoms worse rather than improving them.
Always remember that if you are going to try something new to help alleviate your symptoms, then you should always do your research first, or more importantly, consult your general practitioner.
Here are three of the most common Hay fever myths around:
Honey can get rid of your Hay fever:
Although honey may be a great way to soothe your itchy throat caused by Hay fever, there has been very little evidence to prove that it helps reduce symptoms in any significant way.
"A small study conducted in Finland found that regular honey made only a marginal difference, but that honey with added birch pollen did seem to help. The authors caution, however, that this was only a pilot study and shouldn't be taken as a recommendation." ~ BBC Future
It’s only Flowers that will cause your allergies:
I’m sure a lot of you who suffer from Hay fever will naturally associate your allergies with summertime’s colourful blooms, but this is wrongly assumed. The pollen that causes your symptoms is mostly an airborne kind that emanates mainly from grass, trees (birch and oak) and weeds.
"Showy flowers usually have insect dispersed pollen, which is sticky and heavy and is carried between the flowers by insects, so it does not get carried in the air." ~ Dr Embelin
With prolonged use, you will become immune to Antihistamines:
As we've already established, antihistamines are one of the most popular and effective ways for most Hay fever sufferers to combat symptoms. However, because your symptoms can vary in intensity, this may lead you to believe that your antihistamines have stopped working for you, but this isn't true! You can use antihistamines for a long period without their effectiveness decreasing at all! Although, if antihistamines have never been particularly effective for you, then it may be time to consult your GP to discuss an alternative treatment.
For itching and watery eyes, caused by pollen, you can reach for hay fever eye drops.
So in conclusion, you have seen that Hay fever can cause you some quite significant and unpleasant symptoms, but although there is no complete cure (and there may be some false information hanging around about what helps you and what doesn't), there are in fact many various, preventative measures that you can take to improve your comfort and health when the pollen strikes! With a little help and forward-thinking action, it is possible to have a safe and happy summer!