What is Hay Fever?
Hay Fever is a seasonal allergy to airborne pollen particles. It can cause sneezing, runny or blocked noses, itching in eyes, throat, nose and ears. It can also cause excess mucus, and red or watering eyes.
The hay fever season runs from;
- February to June – Tree pollen
- May to July – Grass pollen
- September to October – Weed and shrub pollen
Symptoms of Hay Fever Include:
- Blocked nose
- Runny nose
- Postnasal drip
- Itchy throat, eyes and nose
- Watering Eyes
- Red rimmed or swollen eyes
- Dark circles under the eyes
- Crusting of eyelids
Your GP will not always need to test you for hay fever as they can make a diagnosis from a description of your symptoms. Tell your GP the reactions you have been having. Remember to include the times of day or night, or season of the year that you experience them.
In rare circumstances, your GP will carry out a skin prick test or a blood test to confirm hay fever.
Tips to Prevent Symptoms:
- Carry your medication, tissues, and a bottle of water at all times
- Check the pollen forecast via TV, radio, or online, as it can help you plan your day to best avoid high pollen counts
- Blow your nose regularly and gently to remove pollen grains
- Change your clothes and wash your hands, hair and eyes often to get rid of any pollen spores
- Close windows when inside
- Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from any pollen grains
Treatment for Hay Fever:
- Anti-histamines relieve sneezing, runny nose, itching of throat and eyes, and should help with watering eyes.
- Anti-inflammatory nasal sprays, reduce inflammation in the nose, and normally contain steroids.
- Decongestant tablets unblock a stuffy nose.
- Bio-Life produces a range of sprays for your home to help reduce and neutralise the dust mite, pet & pollen allergens that are found in the home and that cause allergic reactions.
- You GP can administer Steroid injections in extreme cases
- Air purifiers are used to clear homes of pollen, so hay fever sufferers can relax comfortably in their own homes. They remove airborne pollen particles, along with other allergens from the air, allowing you to breathe more easily.
- Take locally grown honey in the months prior to when your symptoms normally appear
Am I More Likely to Have Hay Fever If It Runs In My Family?
It is not yet known exactly why some people develop an allergy to substances such as pollen but, for some people, it can run in families. You may be more susceptible to pollen if one of, or both, your parents suffer from hay fever.
Is There a Cure For Hay Fever?
There isn’t yet a cure for hay fever, but symptoms can be controlled or lessened through various treatments. Hay fever is more common in teenagers and young adults, and many sufferers find that the symptoms lesson with age, with some outgrowing the allergy completely.
How Do I Follow The Pollen Count?
Pollen counts are a measure of the number of pollen grains in a cubic metre of air, averaged out over a 24 hour period. They are heavily affected by the amount of sunshine, wind and rain.
- Low – less than 30, only highly sensitive hay fever suffers will experience any symptoms.
- Moderate – 30-49, may produce mild symptoms to sufferers.
- High – 50-150, most hay fever suffers will experience symptoms.
Which Parts of the UK Are Hot-Spots For Hay Fever?
Large cities tend to be worse for those with hay fever, as the high air pollution can aggravate symptoms even in low pollen count areas.
Due to higher rainfall and a shortened pollen season, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have a decreased pollen count.
Areas with mountains and moors tend to be less affected, as the vegetation in these areas is less allergenic. Inland, lowland areas (like the Midlands) record the highest pollen counts, with coastal areas tending to have the lowest recordings.
Find out more about Hay Fever, or other allergies, at Allergy UK.