Spring is the most welcomed season by many after the long and cold winter months. It’s a season associated with sunshine, blooming flowers and the promise of warmer Summer weather ahead.
Whilst Spring might be a celebration of flower blossoms and the start of nicer weather, for others it is a dreaded season of never-ending sneezing, congestion, and watery eyes …. all thanks to Hay Fever.
What exactly is Hay Fever?
Hay Fever, also known as ‘allergic rhinitis’, is caused by environmental particles that are released into the air, such as:
Pollens (includes tree and grass pollen)
Spores (indoor and outdoor fungi and molds)
Dust and Dust Mites (includes cockroach droppings)
Animal Fur and Dander
These environmental particles, also known as ‘allergens’ sends your immune system into chaos, as it reacts by trying to push them out of our bodies. As a result, inflaming the mucous membranes of the eyes and nose, causing runny noses, sneezing, watery or itchy eyes and itchy throat and ears.
Depending on how your immune system reacts to environmental allergens, cases of hay fever can be a mild annoyance, or a debilitating and painful condition that causes you to dread the approach of Spring.
One important thing to note, unlike a cold Hay Fever isn’t caused by a virus and isn’t contagious.
Can it get worse?
Severe northern winds can trigger asthma in those who already have Hay Fever, causing wheezing and breathing difficulties as well as severe headaches, incapacitating some from daily activities.
In some cases, pollen allergens can trigger allergic symptoms in the lower airways as well as the nose, making it difficult to breathe. Under certain climatic conditions, such as thunderstorms, pollen allergy can trigger asthma attacks in even those without a history of asthma.
Lesser complications of Hay Fever have also been noted to include disturbed sleep, tiredness during the day, headaches and poor concentration.
Who can get Hay Fever?
Anyone can get Hay Fever at any age, although it can usually begin in childhood or during teenage years. It is said that children are more resilient to the symptoms of Hay Fever.
There’s no cure for Hay Fever, however it has been said that symptoms can become less severe as you get older.
The most effective way to control Hay Fever would be to avoid exposure to pollen, but this wouldn’t be practical unless you planned to hibernate the entire Spring season.
So we’ve put together some tips to help you manage and survive the Spring Hay Fever season.
1. Watch the pollen count
Keeping well informed by monitoring the daily pollen count is a great way to minimise your risk. It’s a good idea to plan your day and activities around high and low pollen count days. This might mean swapping that run for an indoor workout or having a coffee inside instead of out. The fact of the matter is that one of the best defences against pollen for people with asthma and hay fever is to avoid exposure by staying indoors, and keeping windows and doors closed.
2. Keep windows and doors closed
This is pretty common sense really. If you can keep those allergens from coming into your home, then you can at least keep your home as a haven for relief from allergens. This may become a little challenging over time during the Spring season as it will become inevitable for allergens to make it inside your home as people come and go.
3. Clean the air you breathe inside your home
Sooner or later, the outside air will come inside your home and there will be no escaping the allergens polluting the air inside your home. One way to improve the quality of the air inside your home is by introducing an air purifier or ultrasonic diffuser that has an air purifying function into your home.
There are many diffusers available in the market, but be wary that not all diffusers have a purifying function. Here are a few that we recommend:
The Aroma Snooze is an ultrasonic diffuser that functions as an air purifier and removing airborne allergens inside your home. It has a sleek modern look that will complement any room in your home.
The Aroma Haven is a larger capacity ultrasonic diffuser that has a smart humidifying function as well and ideal for larger spaces within the home with a contemporary style to complement any home.
The Aroma Safe-Air is for those serious about air purification in the home. It uses a patented UV sterilisation technology that not only rids allergens, but also airborne viruses and bacteria – and is an affordable alternative to the expensive and noisy commercial air purifiers.
4. Avoid hanging your washing outside on high pollen days
It’s also a good idea to avoid hanging up your washing outside on high pollen days, and instead opt for the dryer or indoor washing line or wash on a different day as pollen particles can stick to clothing.
5. Use recycled air conditioner in the car
While in the car, close the windows and use the recycled function on the air con to prevent allergens from outside coming inside the car. It will also put less stress on your car’s air conditioning system by keeping hot outside air from moving through the unit. It might also be a good idea to have the air filters checked and cleaned at your next car service.
6. Wear wrap-around sunnies to protect your eyes
If you must be outside, be prepared and protect yourself. Wearing wrap-around sunnies will not only protect your eyes from being exposed to allergens, but will also protect them from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Vision Direct have a great article on the best sunglasses for Hay Fever, including help for contact lens wearers.
7. Shower before bed
Showering and changing your clothes after you’ve been outside.
After a day out, you can be sure you’ve got tiny pollen-y particles covering your skin and hair. Have a shower before bed to wash away all the allergens and avoid the chance of being up all night, sneezing. It might be a good idea to wash your bedding and pillow cases more regularly too.
8. Eat more onion and garlic
Both onion and garlic have good antihistamine and anti-inflammatory properties. Onion especially is high in Quercetin, a natural antihistamine proven to reduce hay fever symptoms in sufferers, and has three times as much Quercetin as kale, and ten times as much as broccoli. Some experts recommend eating them raw, but maybe only do that when you’re staying in for the night.
9. Put Vaseline around your nostrils to trap pollen
If you really want to exhaust all avenues of natural remedy, this could be one way of stopping those pesky allergens from getting through to your airways. Although, we can’t guarantee how effective this would be since allergens can travel through the mouth and it wouldn’t stop your eyes from being exposed to the environment. It’s probably also not the most glamorous solution.
10. Take over the counter antihistamines, nasal sprays or eye drops
When natural remedies just aren’t doing it for you, a visit to your local chemist or pharmacy is your next stop. There are many over the counter antihistamines including nasal sprays and eye drops that can offer relief. It is always advisable to take non-drowsy medications to make sure you are fit to function and drive.
11. See your health professional
Finally, if your hay fever symptoms continue to affect your day-to-day living, then it’s time to see your doctor about more effective treatments.
Whilst many of these will surely give relief and improve the symptoms of Hay Fever, choose the one that works best for you and your family.
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