10 top tips to treat hay fever
While there is unfortunately no cure for hay fever, there are many products and treatments available that can relieve symptoms.
The most effective way to control hay fever is to avoid exposure to pollen. This may be easier said than done, especially when the hot summer weather sets in. So, here are other ways to alleviate hay fever symptoms, without compromising on fun in the sun:
1. Keep clean
Take a shower and change your clothes after being outdoors to remove the pollen on your body and hair.
2. Choose the right sunglasses
Wear wrap-around sunglasses to stop pollen getting into your eyes when you're outdoors.
3. Check the weather forecast
Many weather forecasts include pollen counts in their bulletins, especially if they are due to be high (over 50 grains per cubic metre of air). If levels are set to soar, assess how much time you need to be outdoors and whether your symptoms will stop you having fun. If you stay indoors, keep your windows and doors shut.
4. Avoid being around pets that have been outdoors
Pets carry pollen on their fur, so it’s advisable to keep a distance on days with a high pollen count. Take advantage of a hot day by washing them, to keep them cool and reduce the chance of a flare-up. 5
5. Protect your nostrils
Apply a small amount of Vaseline (petroleum gel), or similar, to the nasal openings to trap pollen grains.
6. Dry your clothes indoors
Pollen will collect on your clothes, so avoid drying your washing on the line when the pollen count is high.
7. Avoid gardening and choose the right plants
Spending time in the garden, close to plants, will exaggerate hay fever symptoms. So, to be able to enjoy your garden over the summer avoid planting wind-pollinated plants such as sunflowers, ragweed and dahlias.
8. Spend time by the sea
Sea air blows pollen in-land, so what better excuse do you need for a beach break?
This treatment helps to prevent an allergic reaction from occurring, while steroid nasal sprays are commonly used to reduce inflammation and swelling.
10. Visit your GP
If symptoms persist, visit your GP to discuss further options that may be available. In extreme cases, immunotherapy may be an option – this involves being exposed to small amounts of pollen over three years to build resistance to its allergic effects.
In most cases, hay fever can be controlled by making behavioural changes and taking over-the-counter medication from your pharmacist. But it may be worth speaking to your GP if:
- Allergy medications don't provide relief or cause unpleasant side effects.
- You have another condition that can worsen hay fever symptoms, such as nasal polyps, asthma or frequent sinus infections.
- How to get rid of hay fever – Push Doctor
- Hay fever – NHS Inform
- Allergic Rhinitis and Hay Fever – Allergy UK