With warmer weather in the UK bringing the first taste of summer, recent reports in the national press have suggested that the long winter followed by an early summer could cause a rapid increase in pollen – doubling the number of hayfever sufferers in the UK to 31.8 million by 2030.
Louise Baglole, pharmacist and Lloydspharmacy’s hayfever expert, has provided some advice and tips to help people keep their symptoms under control this summer:
Top 5 Tips to avoid hayfever symptoms
Hayfever occurs when your body releases antibodies in response to certain triggers such as pollen. These antibodies trigger the release of chemicals including one called histamine which cause the hayfever symptoms in your nose, throat and eyes. The symptoms can be extremely uncomfortable and inconvenient for many people and include sneezing or a blocked or runny nose as well as itchy eyes.
Despite predictions of an increase in pollen counts this summer, there are many ways to prevent these symptoms occurring. Here are a few tips to help:
1) Try to minimise your contact with pollen - it sounds obvious but try to keep doors and windows closed, particularly when the pollen count is high. Keeping pets outside, vacuuming regularly, avoiding drying clothes outside and showering after being outside can also help to reduce the amount of pollen you are exposed to.
2) Wear glasses - when you are outdoors try wearing sunglasses to keep pollen out of your eyes. This will help to reduce itchiness.
3) Rub a small amount of Vaseline into your lower nostrils – this may seem strange but it can help to stop pollen pores entering your nasal passages.
4) Keep car windows closed when driving - pollen filters can also be fitted to your car’s air vents to reduce the impact of pollen spores.
5) And above all, keep calm! - A recent survey showed a clear link between stress and the severity of hayfever symptoms. Eating well and sleeping well can also help to reduce your symptoms but remember to avoid the foods that can make hayfever worse, which include apples, tomatoes, stoned fruits, melons, bananas and celery.