British Summertime is here! For many of us, that's great news but for a large section of society, this means the dreaded Hay Fever Season is also upon us, a constant string of popping pills, streaming eyes and runny noses and for some much worse. Some of the worse hit areas are not country areas but cities like London, Birmingham, Glasgow and Leeds due to what is commonly called 'pollenution'!
So what exactly is Hay Fever?
According to Allergy Uk - Hay fever is a common allergic reaction which occurs at particular times of the year. It is known as seasonal rhinitis, sharing symptoms with perennial (year-round) allergic rhinitis, but occurring as a reaction to pollen from grass, trees and weeds during the early spring and summer months. It can affect both adults and children. While often regarding as a trivial issue the effects can be extremely disruptive to everyday life. Allergy UK put together a recent study showing the extent of debilitation caused by hay fever in the UK;
When it came to actual symptoms, 84%, reported sneezing, 78% runny nose, 80% itchy/watery/ red/swollen/sore eyes, and 78% reported nasal congestion. Worryingly, 55% (a total of 332 people) also reported wheezing/ shortness of breath/ tight chest as symptoms for either themselves or their child. Other symptoms reported were cough, catarrh, itch deep inside ears/ roof of mouth, itchy skin, tiredness, post-nasal drip, headaches, nose bleeds, facial pain, hives/ wheals on skin and poor sleep.
Who Gets Hay Fever?
Hay fever affects nearly 10million people in England alone, approx 1 in 4 adults and 1 in 10 children with numbers rising year on year. So what can you do to lessen the impact?
- Shower every night before bedtime which helps remove the unwanted pollen from your hair and skin
- Sunglasses preferably wraparound ones can protect your eyes from pollen
- Try to keep windows at home and in your car closed where possible. Being mindful that tree pollen peaks in the early afternoon and grass pollen peaks in the morning generally before 11 am and then again after 4.30pm. Keep an eye on the met office reports
- Limit alcohol and cigarettes as these can worsen the symptoms.
- Try to remember to shake your jacket before bring it into the house as this will dislodge some of the pollen.
- If Metoffice pollen reports are high try to dry your washing indoors as pollen will stick to all the bed sheets and towels making life very uncomfortable for you indoors.
- Be prepared, make sure you have the right antihistamines for you and try out some of the nasal sprays and nasal gels as these can give immediate relief. Talk to your GP about what is best for you.
- Install pollen filters in your car if they are not already fitted particularly for those long journeys.
- Get the Met Office Weather App on your phone as predictions can change.
- Vacuum regularly, preferably with a high-efficiency particle arresting (HEPA) filter in place and dust with a damp cloth.