Many of us suffer from hay fever in the UK. Research has found that between 15-20% of the UK population sneeze, cough and itch their way through summer’s hazy days.
Pollen is the allergen that causes an allergic reaction in hay fever sufferers.
Most hay fever suffers are affected by grass pollen. This starts to irritate people from about mid-May through to July. However, if you are allergic to tree pollen you may have begun to notice your hay fever symptoms already. Tree pollen allergies start irritating sufferers about now, from late March to May.
Symptoms for both allergies are the same, and can include:
- Itchy and red eyes
- Runny nose
- Fatigue (in some cases)
- Headaches (in some cases)
- Earaches (in some cases)
- Asthma sufferers could also find their asthma symptoms are exacerbated by hay fever
It is generally advised not to go out in the early morning or late afternoon as this is when the pollen count is higher. Wearing wraparound sunglasses helps prevent allergens irritating the eyes. Washing and changing clothes after being out in pollen exposed areas is a good tip too.
Most people take a combination of medicines to combat hay fever including antihistamines, nasal sprays and eye drops. However, there are some alternative things you can do as a hay fever sufferer that may help ease your symptoms.
1. Use an air purifier:
An air purifier can be used to remove all potential allergens from the air including pollen and dust. This will help reduce irritation inside the house or workplace.
2. Use a dehumidifier:
Humidity has been shown to make hay fever symptoms worse. Using a dehumidifier could ease symptoms.
3. Eat more antioxidants:
Antioxidants help maintain a healthy immune system. Drinking green tea and eating lots of broccoli may give the immune system a boost against hay fever. To read our top 5 antioxidants click here.
4. Eat more natural antihistamine rich foods:
Most hay fever sufferers take antihistamines regularly through the hay fever season. There are some foods are natural antihistamines such as garlic and tomatoes. Vitamin C is also a natural anti histamine; drinking lots of orange juice is good way of naturally increasing your antihistamine in-take.
5. Drink camomile tea:
Drinking camomile tea can help calm allergic reactions. It contains the essential oils bisabolo and chamazulene which have soothing and anti-inflammatory properties.
Camomile tea contains essential oils – bisabolol and chamazulene said to calm allergic reactions.
6. Try immunotherapy:
Immunotherapy, also known as desensitisation is when the allergen (pollen) is injected in increasing doses over a long period of time. The idea is to make immune system tolerate the allergen rather than fight it. This means in the long run the allergen (pollen) will stop causing an allergic reaction. Administration is usually by injection or drops/tablets under the skin (sublingual). But this method is time consuming and expensive.