hay fever sufferers

Hay fever!

It’s trying to be summer.  We had a few days that got us thinking it might actually happen.  And once again I’m not so sure!

Weather woes and wails aside, summer is one of the seasons so many look forward to because it offers more time for family and better weather for being outdoors. 

For a lot of people, though, summer is a double edged sword!

The sun comes out….and so does the blast of pollen from all of those happy trees!  Add to that higher pollution levels (courtesy of a blanket of heat holding it close to the ground) – and many suffer with itchy crusty eyes, sneezing and some even develop hives and exacerbation of their eczema.

hay fever health spot
Here are a few tips to help you cope:

1. Some people swear by eating local honey. There is no real evidence on this but if you like honey anyway, support a local bee farmer and local bees by using local honey!

2. If you take an antihistamine in spring and summer, start taking it early.  Pharmacists say it works better that way.  You can sometimes combine tablets with sprays – check with your GP or pharmacist. 

3. If you have eczema, stock up on your creams – and those with asthma or an inhaler for hay fever use should make sure their inhalers are in date.

4. Control your environment the best you can using these tips:

  • Dust your home more regularly in spring and summer.
  • Keep the windows closed during the daytime and until after sunset (if you can).  This helps prevent pollen and pollution particles from getting inside when they are at their peak (early morning and late afternoon/early evening) 
  • One for the kids too: always make your bed.  Pull the duvet up over the pillowcase so pollen isn’t likely to settle onto the spot you rest your face.  Change pillowcases more regularly.  (My son has such bad hay fever we cover his bed entirely with a very large sheet, and then roll it down/remove it before he goes to bed).
  • Always remove your shoes before/when you enter your home.  This helps keep dust and pollen out (amongst other things you might track in!)
  • When possible take a shower immediately upon coming home. This rinses the pollen off you, prevents you from putting pollen in the house, and is quite refreshing too! If you can’t shower, wash your face to get pollen off your eyelashes.  
  • Carry wet wipes to clean your eyes (for the same reasons as above!)

hay fever top tips for summer

5. If you are allergic to grass pollen, avoiding high pollen peaks is trickier.  Grass pollen peaks at three different times. There is a period in the early season where it peaks in late morning and early evening (mid to late April), a pollen peak in the evening during the middle of the season (May and early June), and a peak in the pollen in the middle of the day late in the season (July and August). 

Oh my goodness, so how do you handle that?  I’m allergic to grass so my trick is this: the later in the season, the more careful I am later in the day. I’m less likely to be out in the grass in the evening in April, so this helps cover most of my outdoor nice weather activities.

I hope these tips help you out!  And I hope we all get a bit more summer in the very near future (achoo!)

By Tracy Hannigan (Osteopath)

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