Hay fever

An Article by Worsley Training – First Aid Trainers in and around Wiltshire

Are you currently suffering from bad hay fever like my husband and son? Or know anyone who is? Do they know exactly what they are allergic to? This calendar from Asthma UK may help but it doesn’t change the treatment.

According to Allergy UK between 10 and 30% of adults suffer from hay fever. Around 90% of those are allergic to grass pollen, with peak irritability being between May and July, but tree and weed pollens can also cause hay fever, and these range between February and September.

Symptoms

The typical symptoms of hayfever are:

·      A runny or blocked nose

·      Sneezing and coughing

·      Itchy or watery eyes

This season is also the highest for hospital admissions for asthma attacks. So if you have asthma that is triggered by pollen, you could also notice feeling:

·      Short of breath

·      A tight chest

·     Wheezing

According to Asthma UK, high pollution can also make your hay fever worse and heighten your risk of an asthma attack. This is because pollution particles stick to pollen grains so they hang about in the air longer and are harder to get out of your airways. Thunderstorms can also make symptoms worse, as they smash pollen into tiny bits that go deeper into your lungs.

Treatment

Hay fever is treated with antihistamine tablets / nasal sprays and eye drops (unless you are pregnant). Start taking them up to 4 weeks before you normally get symptoms to build up the medication in your bloodstream before the pollen starts being released. Ask your pharmacist to help you find the right anti-histamine for you as there are various options. Own brand or non-branded ones are cheaper than branded ones and work just as well.

Steroid nasal sprays help unblock your nose but it can take some time to feel the benefits. Start using it 2 weeks before your symptoms usually begin. They work by reducing the swelling in your nose so you can breathe more easily. A saline nasal spray may also help you feel more comfortable.

Locally made honey can improve resistance but avoiding exposure is unfortunately the best solution, unless you believe the rumour that gin may help?!

Finally after being outside, change your clothes and have a shower to wash off any pollen, and try to keep windows and doors shut as much as possible.