Handle your hay fever

Hay fever   Shutterstock   resized 3

It’s finally starting to feel as though spring is in the air, however with the sunshine and blooming flowers often comes the dreaded symptoms of hay fever for many.

Itchy eyes, incessant sneezing and a runny nose can leave hay fever sufferers feeling exasperated, however be rest-assured that there are a few steps you can take to prevent the symptoms of hay fever and to help you to enjoy the warmer months this year.

We’ve compiled some information from The Better Health Channel and Health Direct to help you better understand what causes hay fever, and how to reduce its symptoms.

What causes hay fever? 

The tiny hairs and mucus that line the nasal passages act as a filter within your nose. Their job is to trap dust, pollens and other microscopic particles form making their way into your body.

A person who suffers from hay fever is allergic to some of these particles that get trapped in the nose, such as pollen. The allergic reaction results in the nasal passages becoming inflamed and more mucus being produced, resulting in the symptoms of hay fever.

How can I prevent it?

There are a few measures you can take to prevent hay fever symptoms from settling in:

  • Get to know the triggers of your allergy, and avoid further contact with it. For some this may be grass, fresh flowers, or pet fur.
  • The pollen count is at its highest in the early evening, so if possible it helps to stay indoors during this time.
  • When doing your washing, dry your bed linen and clothing indoors during the pollen season.
  • Avoid smoking or breathing in other people’s smoke, as it can make symptoms worse. For advice on quitting smoking, visit the Quit Now website
  • Change your clothes and have a shower after being outdoors to wash off pollen.
  • If your eyes are itchy and sore, wash your hands and then bathe your eyes with cold water to relieve them.
  • If possible, try to remain indoors to reduce your exposure during extreme weather days (high winds or thunderstorms).

How can I treat it?

Often, over-the-counter medicines are necessary to help control the symptoms of hay fever. Some of these include:

  • Antihistamines, which are often effective in easing mild symptoms such as itching and sneezing.
  • Steroid nasal sprays, which can be used to ease a blocked or runny nose.
  • Eye drops, which can relieve itchy or watery eyes.

Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information on these treatments.

To find out more, check out the information on hay fever symptoms, treatment and prevention from the Better Health Channel and Health Direct: