What do I do against hay fever?

What is hay fever?

woman sneezing due to hay feverA runny nose, itchy eyes, a headache and feeling tired. Spring and summer don’t just bring better weather, they also kickstart the hay fever season, causing such symptoms.

Hay fever is another name for a pollen allergy. Throughout most of the year, even in autumn, all flowers, grasses and trees release pollen. If you are allergic to pollen it means that the mucus membranes in the nose, eyes and throat recognise the pollen as hostile invaders. Your body’s defence mechanism will kick in, making your nose run and your eyes water.

As the hay fever season lasts for several months it can mean the membranes can get quite irritated, causing red eyes, a sore throat, and even itchy ears.

 

anti histamines and nose spray against hay feverWhat can I do against hay fever?

Luckily there are several remedies to help against hay fever or to offer relief from its symptoms. Most commonly known are the antihistamines. These should be taken every day during the season, even when you are not experiencing any symptoms. The most common antihistamines contain loratadine and cetirizine. These are part of the ‘new’ generation of antihistamines, that are non-drowsy.

To help against itchy eyes and a blocked nose there are several nasal sprays and eye drops available. They will mainly work to lessen the symptoms, and some nasal sprays help prevent further irritation. They help reduce the swelling of the mucus membranes, which causes the congestion in your nose, and will alleviate symptoms by flushing out irritants.

At home, it is key to leave pollen where it is meant to be: outside. Take a shower and wash your clothes when you have been outside. Don’t sleep with the window open, and when you do air your bedroom, keep your pillows in a different room. This prevents pollen from settling on your pillow, where they can easily be inhaled once you go to sleep.

 

Hay fever on holiday

As previously mentioned, hay fever happens because the body does not recognise certain types of pollen, and acts accordingly. If you are going abroad, it is very probable that you will be in an environment with plants, trees or flowers that you don’t commonly see at home.

This will also mean that your body will not recognise the different pollen these plants release, causing a flare up of your hay fever. Sometimes even people who have never experienced any allergies can react to pollen abroad.

Avoid any discomfort while travelling by making sure you have packed some allergy tablets and possibly a nasal spray or eyedrops. This is especially important in countries where you don’t speak the language or where they use a different alphabet, as it might be difficult to get certain medicines.

Though uncomfortable, hay fever is not dangerous, and you don’t need to worry too much if you experience these symptoms. You can take precautions at home and on the go, so there is no need to let hay fever prevent you from travelling the world!

Hayfever - Symptoms and Cures infographic

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