Hayfever, is a very common condition that affects two in every 10 people in the UK. It is caused by an allergy to airborne substances such as grass or hay pollen, which affects the upper respiratory passages (nose, sinus, throat and eyes).
Hayfever usually occurs during the spring and summer months. Exactly when you get it depends on which pollens you are allergic to. From May to July, grass and flowers are in pollen, making these the most common cause of hayfever at this time. During spring, from March to May, pollens from trees are the most common cause of hayfever. Some people do get hayfever into the autumn months. However, this is rare and is usually caused by weeds such as nettles and docks, late flowering plants and mould spores.
Hayfever symptoms can be similar to a cold, and include a runny nose, watery eyes and repeated sneezing attacks.
There are medicines available that can ease common hayfever symptoms. Some are only suitable for adults. You should ask Masons Chemists for advice before buying any of the medicines below for a child.
- Antihistamines, available over-the-counter from Masons Chemists can relieve many mild hayfever symptoms.
- A nasal spray may ease a blocked or runny nose.
- Eye drops may help relieve itchy or watery eyes.
Although it’s impossible to avoid pollen completely, with some sensible precautions you should be able to reduce the amount of pollen you come into contact with each day.
You can try the following:
- Keep windows and doors shut to keep pollen out of your house or office.
- In the car, keep the windows closed and consider buying a pollen filter for the air vents.
- When you are outdoors, wear wrap-around sunglasses to stop pollen getting in your eyes.
- Bathing your eyes with plain cold water can help if they are itchy or sore. Wash your hands first.
- Avoid cutting grass, or walking or playing in grassy areas.
- Change your clothes and take a shower after being outdoors.
- Keep fresh flowers out of the house.
- Dust (with a damp cloth) and vacuum regularly.
- Avoid people smoking, and if you are a smoker try to quit or cut down.