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How to Deal With Hay Fever

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With the arrival of spring, people begin to prepare themselves for the inevitable change in the air, specifically the change that brings about hay fever. Hay fever is a common illness and affects millions of people in Britain every year, but this does little to comfort those who suffer every year.

Hay fever is an allergic reaction to substances in the air, mainly pollen which becomes more prominent once spring begins. The amount of pollen in the air will usually trigger the reaction and this is why some people may only experience hay fever for the first time when they come to Bangor. Compared to many larger towns and cities Bangor is very green and therefore this can lead to large amounts of pollen in the air when conditions are right.

So What are the Symptoms of Hay Fever?

Common Symptoms Include:

  • Sneezing

  • Watery eyes

  • Itchy throat

  • Itchy nose

  • Blocked/runny nose

Severe Symptoms May Include:

  • Sweats

  • Headaches

  • Loss of smell and taste

  • Facial pain caused by blocked sinuses

  • Itchiness spreads from the throat, to the nose and ears

How to Prevent Hay Fever

The key way to avoiding hay fever is to reduce your exposure to pollen, despite how difficult this can be. Here are a few tricks.

If possible, try to stay indoors when the pollen count is high (over 50, check the Met Office website for daily forecasts).

  • Keep windows and doors shut in the house. If it gets too warm, draw the curtains to keep out the sun and keep the temperature down. Explain the situation to your housemates and make sure they don’t leave doors or windows open, especially if the weather picks up outside.

  • Don’t keep fresh flowers in the house.

  • Vacuum and dust regularly to rid the house of any pollen that may have come in through open doors or windows.

  • Don’t smoke or let other people smoke in your house. Smoking and breathing in other people’s smoke will irritate the lining of your nose, eyes, throat and airways, and can make your symptoms worse.

 Avoiding Pollen Outside

Sometimes going outside is inevitable, from socails to lectures and exams we all nmeed to get out of the house sometime. Here are some tips to help you survive:

  • Avoid areas where grass is being, or has recently been cut, playing or walking in grassy areas and camping – particularly in the early morning, evening and at night when pollen counts are highest.

  • Wear wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen getting in your eyes.

  • Change your clothes and take a shower after being outdoors to remove the pollen on your body.

  • If your going for a drive make sure to keep windows shut as the pollen can still get in no matter how fast you’re driving.

Curing Hay Fever

There are a variety of treatments for hay fever including tablets, eyedrops, nasal sprays and injections. Finding which works best for you will help you stay symptom-free through the summer.

Antihistamines

Histamine is a chemical released by your body after it’s been exposed to a trigger such as pollen. It produces symptoms of hay fever such as sneezing or itchy, watery eyes. Antihistamines block the action of histamine in the body. This is the most common form of treatment and is easily available at most pharmacist or chemists, though in some more severe cases a doctor’s appointment might be necessary.

 Steroid Nasal Sprays

Steroid nasal sprays are often more effective than antihistamines at treating some symptoms of hay fever, the main one being a blocked nose. Antihistamines can often contain a lot of steroids to boost your body, and nasal sprays reduce your body from absorbing the full impact of this drug. There are also almost no side effects when used correctly, and can therefore be used for long periods of time without any risk. They take several days to act and need be taken continually for several weeks as their effect builds up with time. But the limit of their affect does mean that they often need to be taken with other treatments to feel full relief from all symptoms.

Hay Fever Injections

A more extreme option, this should be considered if symptoms persist or get worse after several weeks. You cannot buy injections over the counter; you must see a GP to get a prescription. Initially you have to have an injection every week or fortnight at the clinic and then regularly for up to two years. This treatment involves injecting pollen into your body, forcing an allergic response so that you build up anti-bodies to combat the allergen in your body.

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About Author

Sara Lloyd Williams

Health and Beauty Editor 2013/14

2 Comments

  1. Concerned Reader/Grammar Nazi on

    If your going for a drive make sure to keep windows shut as the pollen can still get in no matter how fast you’re* driving.

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