For hayfever sufferers we are entering the trickiest time of year when simply leaving the house can lead to a whole range of different symptoms. Hayfever is very uncomfortable and, for many people, every type of relief tried simply doesn’t work. However, there are lots of ways that you can have a different experience of hayfever season this year - these are our tips on making life more comfortable.
What is hayfever?
It’s essentially an allergy that is caused by pollen, which is why it is seasonal (May to September) - when the pollen count starts to rise, hayfever gets more intense. Around one in five people suffer from hayfever and up to 40% of children. Symptoms include a blocked or runny nose, sneezing, coughing, headache, and sinus pain. Pollen can come from trees, grass, or weeds and will get everywhere, in your hair, on your clothes and it can be carried by a breeze onto your skin. So, what can you do to make this hayfever season different?
- Start paying attention to the data. The Met Office website will give you daily information so you can see when the pollen count is at its highest. On most days you’ll find early mornings and evenings are easier in terms of symptoms but when the pollen count is very high there may be no respite outside.
- Carry the essentials with you. Always make sure you have sunglasses to protect your eyes from pollen and vaseline to act as a barrier for your nose.
- Create the right environment. If you vacuum every day, use a cleaner with a HEPA filter and a grooming attachment for dogs you can make your home a less reactive place for you.
- Avoid anything that makes it worse. For example, alcohol and certain foods (e.g. fish, cheese, and nuts) can make hayfever symptoms worse, as will drying your laundry outside or being around when a lawn is being cut or trees trimmed.
- Look for natural ways to relieve your symptoms. For example, there are foods - such as garlic - that are a natural decongestant and spices, like turmeric, that have natural anti-inflammatory properties. Foods that are high in quercetin, such as green vegetables and apples, work to naturally suppress the body’s histamine and raw apple cider vinegar (three or four times a day) can also help to alleviate the worst symptoms. There are also a number of herbal teas that can help to reduce symptoms too, including green tea and nettle tea - add honey to boost the health benefits of the tea.
- Introduce new habits. If you usually exercise outside, this time of year might be ideal to start heading to the outdoor pool instead. Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water every day so that your body can flush the histamines from your system. Plus, you could add a daily steam to your routine - hold your head over a bowl of hot water and inhale the steam to open airways and soothe the sinus pain.
This is a challenging time of year for hayfever sufferers but there are lots of things you can do to help ease the situation.
Harley Street is the UK's foremost private medical centre which is dedicated to providing high-quality care for your ear, nose, throat, head & neck, and balance-related disorders. Find out more information on how Harley Street ENT can help you here.