The 2018 hay fever season is turning out to be rather memorable with an unusually high pollen count  -  the worst in over a decade.  With the irritating condition affecting up to 1 in 5 of us, hay fever is a widespread problem that is set to have sufferers on high alert this season.

Hay fever is an allergy to pollen, normally from grass, flowers or trees. It is usually restricted to the spring, summer and autumn months when the grass is in seed and the flowers, trees and weeds are in full germination mode.

In April 2018 The Independent reported findings from a study that highlighted how hay fever can impact quality of life with one in five hay fever sufferers having taken time off work as a result.  Also, when at work over a third felt too worn out to concentrate, almost half struggled to stay focused because of constant nose blowing and sneezing and one fifth were more irritable with colleagues. 

Functioning at work is only half the story though, with symptoms continuing at home and affecting the ability to achieve a quality night’s sleep, exercise and keep the house together.  Symptoms can also have an effect on general wellbeing, with sufferers reporting feeling under the weather(!), run down and upset.

There is currently no cure for hay fever, but there are many ways to reduce your exposure to the allergens and therefore gain relief of some of your hay fever symptoms.

Many people are tempted to reach straight for the strong anti-histamines for quick symptom relief. However, we’re advocates of a more natural approach. Some types of anti-histamines are known to trigger drowsiness, and a study from the University of Washington even linked anticholinergic medications (including some types of antihistamines) to increased risk of dementia[1].

We understand that for some people, anti-histamines are simply unavoidable, but if you’d prefer not to use them, there are many natural ways to fight hay fever symptoms.

1. Make your home or office a 'pollen oasis'

It is much easier to remove pollens from an indoor environment than it is outdoors.  Since we generally spend most of our time indoors, it makes sense to make this area a 'safe haven' so that you have a refuge away from those uncomfortable hay fever symptoms.

An air purifier is an excellent first step as it physically takes away the pollen (and other) allergens from the air you breathe. We offer a wide range of air purifiers and so you can breathe pure, clean air at home or work without bothersome allergy symptoms. All of the machines on our website have been carefully chosen for their superior filtration powers and efficiency.

Did you know that allergy neutralising  sprays are available to help to denature the allergens? Ideal for travel or use around the home, these cost-effective treatments can reduce allergen exposure by up to 90%. Naturally based and free from insecticides, these sprays are among our best sellers.

Other simple solutions for hay fever, which can help make a difference around the home are:

  ~  Drying washing indoors to prevent pollen from collecting on your laundry.
  ~  Removing your shoes when entering the house after being outside, as pollen can be brought in this way.
  ~  Keep windows closed when possible.
  ~  Avoid bringing cut flowers into the house - stick to silk ones over hay fever season.
  ~  When pets come indoors, give them a thorough clean or use PetalCleanse solution to remove allergens that may have              collected on their fur.

2. Prevent the pollen from getting into your body

Having hay fever doesn't always mean that you can't enjoy the great outdoors during peak pollen season.

Feel more comfortable whilst out and about by wearing a mask that filters away pollen, or by applying a little HayMax Balm underneath your nostrils to physically trap allergens, preventing you from inhaling them. This handy little balm also traps dust and pet allergens, so it’s great for year-round use. 

The Airvida is an innovative and stylish wearable air purifier.  It is silent and lightweight ensuring that it is comfortable to wear and discreet.  This air purifier uses ionisation technology to eliminate airborne particles around your head, rendering it clean and safe to breathe. This air purifier helps to protect you from germs, allergenic particles (including pollen) and VOC’s down to 2.5 microns and up to 99% of formaldehyde.  Choose from a white or black (pink coming soon).  Great for indoor use, travelling, shopping, even walking and running (though less effective on a windy day).

If a scarf/face shield would appeal more, we have just started to stock the Respilon Antismog scarf.  This is a scarf that pulls over the head and captures 99% of airborne allergens (including pollens) and emissions including smog, microbes, pollen and dirt, whilst protecting against the cold and the sun.  The high quality cotton stretch material contains a nanofiber membrane (a synthetic material) which is air and vapour permeable.  An adjustable nose clip ensures that it moulds perfectly over the nose and the face. This washable mask, available in 3 sizes is suitable for all of the family. 

Wrap-around sunglasses can make a difference too, as they reduce the amount of pollen allergens entering your eyes.

3. Monitor your diet carefully 

A Mediterranean diet including nuts, grapes, apples, oranges, fish and tomatoes has been linked to reduced respiratory allergy symptoms [2].

However, beware of cross-reactions or 'Oral Allergy Syndrome'- this phenomenon can cause additional symptoms to occur in an allergic person when they eat certain types of foods (particularly raw foods). Click here to learn more about this.

Vitamin C is thought to be a ‘natural antihistamine’ and contains anti-allergy bioflavonoids[3]. If you can tolerate oranges well, these are a good source. Alternatively, you can pop a daily supplement.

4. Don't smoke or drink

Drinking alcohol can expand nasal blood vessels, leading to swelling of the passageways of the nose. This can make you feel even more congested when you have hay fever.

Smoking and passive smoking will further irritate the lining of your throat, nose, eyes and airways, worsening your hay fever symptoms. Yet another great reason to stub out that cigarette!

5. Allergy-proof your bedroom for better quality sleep

Getting a good night's sleep can be tricky when your eyes are streaming, your nose is running and you can’t stop sneezing. Often, your symptoms can wake you up at night and it can be difficult to drift off.

You may want to have your bedroom window open overnight if it’s warm, but this generally isn't a good idea if the pollen count is high.

Leave an air purifier running overnight (many of these machines are quiet and will not disturb your sleep) so you can rest with the peace of mind you are not breathing in pollen or indeed other allergens.

Don’t forget to shower and wash your hair before bed to remove any pollen residues that can irritate your airways, and leave clothing and shoes that have been worn outdoors during the day outside the bedroom door (these can collect pollens).

An important note: if you have asthma, pollens could put you at risk of a potentially life-threatening attack. Therefore, ensure you consult with your GP and have appropriate medications and inhalers to hand at all times. 

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Disclaimer: Information included in this blog post is intended for information purposes only and is not to be used as a substitute for consultation with a medical practitioner. Images not necessarily to scale.

References:

[1] "Antihistamines may raise dementia risk" Men's Health Magazine

[2] "Natural Hay Fever Remedies" www.goodtoknow.co.uk

[3] "Best diet for allergies and hay fever" Boots WebMD

[4] “One in five hay fever sufferers take time off work because of their allergy, study finds” The Independent www.independent.co.uk

Disclaimer: Information included in this blog post is intended for information purposes only and is not to be used as a substitute for consultation with a medical practitioner. Images not necessarily to scale.

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