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Hay fever: 5 tips not to be sniffed at

Written by Dr Claudia Pastides

, 3 min read

Hay fever: 5 tips not to be sniffed at

While many of us rejoice at the warmer weather, spring and summer can be the worst time of year for hay fever sufferers. Especially now we’re having to socialise and exercise outdoors more than ever!

Pollen allergies are quite common and affect around one in five people at some point in their life. For sufferers, summer is the season of runny noses and itchy eyes- not the summer fun you were hoping for!Sadly, there’s no cure for hay fever yet, but there are ways to relieve the symptoms so you can get on with your life and enjoy the outdoors again. The first step is to talk to your pharmacist. Over the counter medications, such as antihistamines, are very effective, but if your symptoms are particularly bad you should book a video chat with a GP who will be able to prescribe tailored medication.

Here are five top tips for hay fever season:

1. Check the pollen count

The root of your symptoms is your allergy to pollen, so avoiding coming into contact with pollen is your best bet. On days when the pollen count is particularly high, keep windows closed. You might choose to stay indoors if possible. The count is usually highest in the morning and evening, so try and arrange your day around this if you can. (A high count is over 50 grains per cubic metre of air). There are websites online that you can use to check the pollen count in your area.

2. Good sunglasses

Wearing a pair of wrap-around sunglasses will protect your eyes from pollen. This should stop your eyes from watering when you’re outside.

3. Change clothes regularly

Every time you go outside, pollen collects on your clothes. After being outdoors, shower and wash your hair straight away to remove the pollen from your body, and change your clothing. Try and avoid drying clothes outside if you can.

4. Use eye drops

One of the most frustrating symptoms of hay fever is itchy, streaming eyes. It can be impossible to get anything done at work or drive safely when pollen is wreaking havoc on your eyes. Anti-inflammatory eye drops, which are available from your local pharmacy, will help to reduce these symptoms.

If you’ve tried everything and you’re still suffering, speak to a healthcare professional. Don’t let hay fever rule your life, it’s time to enjoy spring and summer!

5. Get a pollen filter for your car

It can be difficult to keep car windows shut during hot weather, and pollen has other ways of getting in anyway! Many cars nowadays come with pollen filters, but if you don’t have one you can buy a pollen filter and have it fitted. And don’t forget it needs to be changed, so it’s a good idea to check when you have your car serviced.

The information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Seek the advice of a doctor with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never delay seeking or disregard professional medical advice because of something you have read here.

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