An Allcare Guide to Hayfever
While some of us welcome the arrival of the colourful cherry blossoms and the smell of fresh cut grass, others confront it with fear of an uncomfortable time to come. Hay Fever affects 15% of the population and symptoms, in some cases severely affect quality of life.
Allergic rhinitis is a group of symptoms that affect your nose. They occur when you breathe in something you are allergic to, such as dust mites, animal dander, or pollen.
Allergic rhinitis is called hay fever when it is caused by plant pollen and other outdoor particles. When people who are sensitive to pollen breathe it in their immune system overreacts.
Although symptoms are not harmful they are extremely irritating and can affect quality of life. Hay fever starts at any age, although most common between the ages of 15 and 25. Grass and tree pollen are the most common triggers of hay fever.
Hay-fever is a particularly seasonal problem (especially mid-summer) but can start as early as March when trees flower and can continue into late August.
High levels of pollen occur on warm, dry and sunny days. Pollen is released in the morning and carried higher into the air by midday. It descends again to ‘nose-level’ in the late afternoon and evening.
Low levels occur on wet, damp and cold days. Rain washes pollen out of the air.
Hay fever symptoms include:
- Blocked and runny nose
- Sinus congestion with headaches, especially along the forehead
- Itchy, red and watery eyes
- Puffy eyes and lower eyelids
- Cough and occasional wheeze
- Ears popping with occasional hearing impairment
- Diminished senses of taste and smell (severe hay-fever sufferers)
- Itchy along roof of mouth and back of throat when eating certain foods
- Feeling of intense thirst
Extra tips to help you reduce the symptoms of hay fever
- Avoid areas of lush grassland
- Keep house and car windows closed during peak pollen hours (late morning and evening)
- Wear wrap-around sunglasses to reduce pollen grains affecting the eyes
- If you can, avoid being outdoors late morning and late afternoon
- Wear a face mask if you have to cut the grass
- Choose seaside breaks for holidays as off shore breezes blow pollen away
- Check TV, radio and newspapers for the next day’s pollen count and plan your schedule accordingly (www.asthma.ie also provide an app)
- Use of drug-free barrier products protects the lining of the nose. Putting a smear of Vaseline inside each nostril to ease soreness and to capture pollen entering the nasal passages.
- Never sleep with the bedroom window open
- Use of air-purifiers and high filtration vacuum cleaners to help remove pollen from the house
- Put used tea bags in the fridge. They make great soothing compresses to relieve swollen or puffy eyes.
- Keep an antihistamine handy for sudden allergy attacks
- Rinsing hair at night to wash out pollen grains
- Do not leave the clothes you have worn that day in the bedroom with you at night. Pollen can stick to garments
Treatments are available in your local Allcare Pharmacy. Available as tablets, syrups, eye drops and nose sprays, we can advise the most suitable form of treatment to suit your individual preference and needs.