Two-thirds of hayfever sufferers are claiming that their current treatment isn’t helping to alleviate the symptoms, so we’re on hand to help sneeze-proof your summer.
Pollen from trees, grass and even weeds causes millions of Brits to suffer symptoms from watery, itchy eyes to frequent sneezing and an itchy throat, mouth, nose and ears between May and September.
So with summer and Allergy Awareness Week (April 28 – May 4) just around the corner Dr Joe Unsworth, consultant immunologist at Spire The Glen Hospital Bristol, has shared his tips for a sneeze-free summer.
Be prepared – Lots of people think hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen released from flowers. In fact in the UK it’s mainly the pollen from trees (March – May) and grass (May-September) and to a lesser degree weeds, that give us all the unpleasant symptoms.
Knowing what pollen triggers your symptoms (a simple safe skin test can give results on the spot) helps you to time the start of your treatment. For some people occasional use of medication may suffice, but for others daily preventative treatment (starting a week or so before symptoms begin) may be best.
Wear sunglasses – itchy eyes can be one of the most debilitating symptoms of hay fever, but wearing sunglasses can help a little to block the pollen from reaching the eyes in the first place. You should wear them for as much of the day as possible but make sure you put them on early in the morning and as the sun goes down which is when pollen counts are highest.
Shake it off – your clothes and hair can act as magnets for pollen. If you’ve been outside, take a few minutes to give your clothing a good shake before you go indoors. Have a shower, wash your hair and change into clean clothes to minimise symptoms once you’re inside.
Chill out – a link has been found between stress and hay fever. The higher your stress levels, the worse your symptoms. Find a way to relax. Exercise can be a useful way to relax, but avoid doing it outside in the early morning or evening. If your symptoms are really bad, consider an activity that you can do indoors such as yoga or swimming.
Cut out booze – Alcohol has a dehydrating effect on the body, which can make hay fever symptoms worse. Cutting back on your intake of wine, beer and spirits could really make a difference to how badly you suffer.
Consider alternative options – the best treatment is nasal drops / sprays containing corticosteroid (strong anti-inflammatory), with or without antihistamines and eye drops. But when all these just aren’t doing the trick, it could be worth considering immunotherapy.
Immunotherapy involves a gradual introduction of the allergen into the body to build up a resistance. It is usually given via injection or tablet, but must be done in a specialist medical centre in case a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) occurs.
Treatment is usually started in the weeks / months before the hay fever season begins. I have extensive experience in desensitisation and the majority of patients notice clear benefits.
Allergy sufferers worried about the onset of hay fever season could benefit from a range of new air purifiers to ease their symptoms, as new research reveals two thirds of sufferers say that their current treatment is not effective.
Fellowes’ AeraMax range can actively reduce the number of pollen particles that could be affecting the health and wellbeing of 18 million hay fever sufferers across the UK who could be suffering when indoors.
Endorsed by Allergy UK, the British Allergy Foundation, Fellowes AeraMax four-stage purification system filters pollen particles, helping to reduce the severity of the reaction.
Each of the three machines in the range features a True HEPA filter. This is an EU certified level of ‘High Efficiency Particulate Absorption’, which removes 99.97% of airborne particles as small as 0.3 microns.
Mike Booth from Fellowes, said: “We all want to put our families’ health and well-being first and to make sure that the air in our homes is as clean as it can be, and what better time to highlight this than during Allergy Awareness Week.
“Air purifiers can help to effectively reduce the number of allergens in the air such as pollen, dust mites, pet dander and many others – making it an ideal solution for allergy sufferers.”