Tips For Hay Fever Relief10 May 2019
Sorry folks, it’s that time of year when hay fever strikes! The stuffy feeling, watering eyes and constant sneezing – it’s all in a day’s misery for a hay fever sufferer.
We’re sure you’ll have tried almost every thing possible to try and rid yourself of the groggy feeling, but there may be some hay fever relief you’ve not tried – and it could be much easier than you think!
So let’s get started with our tips for hay fever relief, but first… what is hay fever anyway?!
Hay fever is basically an allergy caused by pollen, which affects 1 in 5 people (and up to 40% of children.) Fine pollen is carried from plant to plant on the breeze, sticking to everything it comes into contact with on the way, including us! Especially our skin, hair and clothes.
There are three types of pesky pollen which cause hay fever; from trees, grass and weeds. Flower pollen tends to be heavier and transferred between plants by insect, so flowers aren’t the culprits here!
Hay Fever Symptoms
Hay fever symptoms include those of a severe cold; blocked or runny nose, sneezing, coughing, headache, tiredness and sinus pain. Plus often, itchy, watery eyes. And just to make matters worse, you might also suffer from an itchy nose, ears, mouth, or have itchy skin generally.
These symptoms are worse on hot, dry and breezy days.
Hay Fever Season
According to the Met Office UK, there are three different hay fever seasons, depending on the type of pollen:
Tree: Mid-March to Mid-July
Grass: Mid-May to July
Weed: Late-June to September
If your symptoms occur outside of these times, they are unlikely to indicate hay fever, but might be due to other allergens.
How To Avoid Hay Fever
The best way to tackle hay fever is to head it off before it causes any trouble. Or to avoid it all together, wherever possible.
Keep an eye on the Met Office’s website so you know when things are likely to be worse. Often early mornings and evenings are better, but on days where the pollen count is particularly high, there may be no respite outdoors.
Always carry a pair of wraparound sunglasses with you and a small pot of Vaseline. (Dab a little on your nostrils to act as a barrier.)
Manage Your Environment
Banish the pollen in your home by hoovering daily, using a cleaner with a HEPA filter. Include soft furnishings and use a grooming attachment if you have dogs.
Keep windows and doors closed. Shower and wash your hair and clothes when you return home. Ask visitors to remove shoes and shake coats outside.
Avoid alcohol, which contains histamines and will make hay fever symptoms worse.
Avoid being outside at certain times of day when the pollen count is likely to be high.
Avoid the countryside if possible. Head for the coast instead! See breezes tend to push pollen inland.
Avoiding certain foods can also help; pickles, cured or smoked meats and fish, cheese and nuts all contain histamines.
Avoid hanging laundry outside to dry.
Definitely avoid anyone who’s cutting a lawn or pruning a tree!
Natural Hay Fever Relief
For hay fever relief, try holding your head over a bowl of hot water and inhaling the steam, (but of course be extra careful)! This will help open the airways and soothe sinus pain, especially if you add a drop or two of eucalyptus or myrtle essential oil. You can also add a few drops of these fabulous decongestants to your bath water or an oil burner.
If you usually exercise outdoors, trying heading for the swimming pool instead.
Drink plenty of water, which will help keep you hydrated and flush histamines from your system.
Spice Things Up
Some foods are great decongestants, including garlic, ginger and chilli so spice up your diet. Spices with great anti-inflammatory properties, like turmeric and cayenne pepper are easily added to soups, smoothies, salad dressings or roast vegetables. The omega-3 fatty oils found in fish are great for helping to reduce inflammation, too.
Foods that contain a flavenol called quercetin can help to suppress your body’s histamine
production, working like many hay fever tablets do, to reduce symptoms. Foods high in quercetin include green vegetables, beans, apples and onions.
Not So Sweet
Raw apple cider vinegar is really helpful in the battle against hay fever symptoms. It helps alleviate inflammation and congestion, is highly nutritious, has anti-histamine properties and supports a healthy immune system. Try drinking (three or four times a day) a tablespoon of raw cider vinegar in warm water with the juice of half a lemon and a teaspoonful of raw local honey.
Time For Tea
There are a few herbal teas which can help with hay fever relief too. Green tea, camomile tea and nettle tea (or tablets) are all naturally anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory, while fennugreek seed tea is a natural decongestant.
Add some honey to boost your herbal tea’s benefits. Eating raw local honey daily will help relieve symptoms but also works to decrease sensitivity to pollen, preventing hay fever developing in the first place.
You can also use the cooled tea bags as a soothing compress for sore and itchy eyes.
Hay Fever Relief From Your Pharmacist
Hay fever relief is available in various forms over the counter.
However, sometimes you need a little extra help to tame those pollen gremlins. Call us and talk to one of our pharmacists. After a short chat about your medical history, we may be able to offer you strong hay fever relief medication that’s not available over the counter.
Bryn is the director here at Atropa Pharmacy. With over a decade working in the pharmaceutical sector he aims to bridge the gap between care / support professionals and the pharmacy sector with a patient focused approach.