It's that time of year again and those succeptible to hayfever are seeing their symptoms flair up again. I'm somewhat of an irregular hayfever sufferer. I don't seem to get it every year, and it doesn't seem to be as bad as a lot of people I know, but still, it's annoying. I've been chatting to a few friends who have hayfever and and some experts from Pharma Nord to come up with 8 tips to tackle hay fever this summer and since it is Allergy Awareness Week from 25th April - 1st May, what better time to talk about it?
What is hay fever?
So, it might be extremely common, and we've all heard of it, but what is hay fever? In simple terms, exposure to pollen causes the body to produce an antibody which binds to the proteins in pollen, in turn, this triggers another part of the immune system to release a histamine that is responsible for inflammation which causes the common symptoms of hay fever including a runny or blocked nose, watery and itchy eyes and sneezing. Look at me getting all science on you!!
The best way to control hay fever is to avoid exposure to pollen and triggering substances, but we all know that is going to be pretty difficult during the summer, so there are a few ways you can try to prevent and protect yourself. You can start by avoiding those activities that are going to really put you at risk, such as mowing your lawn when the pollen count is high and trying to keep your windows closed if you're going to be inside all day. If pollen gets inside, it can live in carpet, so make sure you vacuum regularly.
The guys from Pharma Nord have recommended pycnogenol which is a plant-based solution to hay fever. It's an anti-inflammatory with antioxidant actions.
If you decide to take anti-histamines, make sure you are fully aware of what you are taking. Some anti-histamines can cause drowsiness, so avoid taking these if you are driving etc. Make sure you always read the packaging or speak to a GP/pharmacist if you are unsure.
9 tips to tackle hay fever
- Wash your hair
Pollen can stick to hair so make sure you wash it regularly to avoid it constantly being around you or transferring to your pillow at night.
- Try taking Bio-Pycnogenol one month before hay fever season
The season generally runs from April to October, so if you can get hold of some Bi-Pycnogenol and start taking it early, it can help reduce your symptoms
- Eat well
This goes without saying, but people with a varied, balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables are less likely to get severe symptoms
- Exercise regularly
Research shows that people with hay fever who exercise have the mildest symptoms. Try to do about 2 hours of aerobic based exercise a day but if you're going to do this outside, try to avoid doing it when the pollen count is high first thing in the morning (8-10am) and early evening (5-7pm).
- Create a barrier
Use vaseline or something similar to coat the inside of your nose to create a barrier to prevent pollen sticking there.
- Shut the windows
Keep the windows in your home closed where possible and try not to drive with the windows open. Open bedroom windows at night for ventilation, but try to close them again before the pollen count shoots up in the morning
- Chat to your GP
Your GP or pharmacist will be able to suggest further preventative treatment if you aren't seeing results from more natural or common treatments.
- Get yourself a nasal spray
Decongestant or seawater nasal sprays are great for washing allergens away and can provide temporary relief from symptoms. However, nasal sprays aren't designed as a permanent method of treatment so should be used sparingly and you should look for a better form of treatment or relief.
Do you suffer from hay fever? What are your tips to tackle it? Let us all know in the comments.
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