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How to avoid Hay fever Hell


This year has been a mild winter so the hay fever allergy season is set to start early, so for the 27% of us who suffer this Spring allergy, brace yourselves!

And just because you have not got it yet, doesn’t mean you wont.

Hay fever can develop at any age and more middle-aged people are developing it now than ever before due to increased pollen counts and air pollution.

Proteins present in flower and plants pollens can cause everything from an itchy nose, skin rashes, streaming eyes, sore and swollen eyelids, swollen tongue and headaches, making the sufferers life hell for a few months.

In addition pollution can make hay fever symptoms even worse, so if you suffer from hay fever and live in the city, then symptoms can sometimes be unbearable.

 Here are some crucial tips on how to manage hay fever and reduce symptoms;


Pollution & Hay fever

Air pollution plays a role in the severity of allergic reactions. Pollutants can make the proteins in pollen more potent.

Nitric oxide from exhaust fumes slows down the clearing of mucus from the nose.

Hay fever management tips;

–          If you live in the city, wear a filter mask during the hay fever season

–          Coat the inside of the nose with Vasaline to stop so many fumes and particles getting up the nose.


 Plants & Hay fever

Birch tree pollen is the first pollen to appear in the hay fever season .Around 25%of hay fever sufferers are allergic to birch tree pollen. Birch trees are particularly problematic because of the way the body reacts to the protein the pollen produces.

The ragweed plant (ambrosia artemisiifolia) is spreading throughoutEuropeand is also highly allergenic.

Oil seed rape, Oak, grass and nettles are also all common hay fever allergenic plants.

And plants can also cause allergies on the skin.

Phyto Photodermatitis is an allergic reaction caused by the chemical mix of UV light and the juices produced by certain plants and shrubs that bloom in Spring in most English garden and countryside.

[quote]Phyto Photodermatitis causes hayfever like symptoms as well as rashy red skin. The skin can also blister. Keen gardeners are at particular risk from this type of Spring skin reaction.[/quote]

Some plants that can cause Phyto Photodermatitis are hogweed, celery, rhubarb and citrus fruits being splashed on the skin, usually while gardening. The plants juices themselves are harmless but UV light causes a chemical reaction that can cause an allergic reaction.

Hay fever management tips;

– Wear gloves and sunglasses )with side wings) when gardening

–  Try to garden when there is a breeze so pollens get blown away

– Garden in the early morning while plants are still dewy as there is less pollen in the air

– Calamine lotion will soothe any itching.

–          After gardening take a bath in an oat bath soak to reduce itching and rashes.


Alcohol & Hayfever

Alcohol can make hayfever worse. Not only does it dehydrate you, making symptoms seem worse, it may also increase your sensitivity to pollen.

[quote]Research has found that drinking more than two glasses of wine a day almost doubles the risk of a woman developing allergies in general.[/quote]

Hay fever management tips;

–          Drink less during the hay fever season

–          Drink more water than normal

–          Water down alcoholic drinks

 Food & Hayfever

Many hay fever suffers get a swollen tongue.

Some foods can make hay fever symptoms worse and cause ‘oral allergies’, as they have similar proteins in them as pollen, these include;

Celery, apples, pears, cherries, apricots, plums, tomatoes, melon, peaches, kiwis, potatoes, carrots, celery, hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts, peanuts and soya beans.

Hay fever management tips;

–          Avoid raw fruits and root plants during hay fever season

[quote]-          Cook all vegetables and fruits before eating as this breaks down the allergen proteins[/quote]

–          Take an omega 3 and 6 supplement for 3-4 months over the hay fever season as these have been shown to reduce allergies


Sun & Hay fever

Hay fever may be associated with a lack of vitamin D, which we get from UV light.

Hay fever management tips;

–          Take a cod liver oil supplement as it contains vitamin D

–          Go outside and get some sun but go before midday. In the afternoons pollen counts are higher


Smoking & Hay fever

Many adults who have been smokers and then quit develop hay fever.

[quote]Smoking suppresses the immune system, but when you quit the immune system gets a ‘kick start’ and this can trigger hay fever and other allergies.[/quote]

Hay fever management tips;

– Quit smoking in the summer to give your body as much time as possible to adjust before the hay fever season kicks in.

Treatments for Hay fever

–          Steroid nasal spray is one of the most effective hay fever treatments. Look for ones containing fluticasone propionate (available over the counter), mometasone furoate or fluticasone furoate (both prescription-only), and start taking them two weeks before the pollen that affects you comes into season.

–          There is a vaccine that is now available for hay fever sufferers. This usually involves having injections or tablets of the pollen you’re allergic to over a period of three years.

–          Patients with grass pollen allergy tend to be given daily tablets, a common one is Grazax. The treatment has to be prescribed by an allergy specialist and the best results are seen four months after treatment begins.

[quote]-          Soreness, redness and dryness around the eyes is a common, uncomfortable and long lasting symptom of hay fever but it’s often the one symptom many sufferers forget to treat until its too late. Try Skin Shop’s Dry Eye Gel, which is a natural anti-inflammatory eye gel, twice daily as soon as hay fever symptoms begin to avoid red, dry and itchy skin around the eyes and on the eye lids.[/quote]

–          Take a good fish oil supplement a month before and during the hayf fever season to help reduce allergic symptoms.

–          Another option is nasal air filters, which are rubber implants worn outdoors to prevent allergens from being inhaled.


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