As spring arrives in the northern hemisphere, you’re probably enjoying the warmer temperatures and longer hours of sunlight. Unless, that is, you suffer from hay fever! Hay fever is a common allergic reaction to pollen from trees, grass, and other plants. Both children and adults can suffer from it, and it tends to be most severe when pollen comes into contact with your eyes, nose, mouth, or throat. Although not dangerous, it can be quite irritating and often has a disruptive impact on your daily life.
This article will look at some of the most common symptoms of hay fever, before discussing ways in which you can treat it.
Symptoms of hay fever
In many cases, the symptoms of hay fever are similar to that of a common cold. They can vary in severity depending on the type and amount of pollen you’re exposed to, as well as how bad your allergy is. The most common signs of hay fever are listed below. You may find that you suffer with all of these, or only some of them:
- Itchy, watery, or red eyes
- Itchy nose, throat, or roof of the mouth
- Runny or blocked nose
- Loss of smell
Hay fever can also exacerbate the symptoms of asthma if you have it, as well as making it harder to sleep. In turn, a lack of sleep can leave you feeling tired, cause difficulties with concentration and memory, and generally put you in a bad mood.
How to treat hay fever
There is currently no cure for hay fever; however, there are plenty of steps you can take to ease your suffering. For example, many people find it useful to take fexofenadine tablets, an antihistamine which can relieve your symptoms without making you feel drowsy. There are also nasal sprays and eye drops available, which can help if you only have one or two specific symptoms to address.
In addition to medication, there are certain tactics you can try that will help to lessen your exposure to pollen, and thereby reduce the severity of the symptoms you experience. For example:
- Avoid going outside when the pollen count is high (usually on warm and dry days)
- When outside, try to avoid walking directly on grass or cutting grass yourself
- Wear wraparound sunglasses outdoors to prevent pollen from getting in your eyes
- Put petroleum jelly or a similar balm around your nostrils to act as a barrier and trap pollen
- After going outside, shower, wash your hair, and change your clothes to get rid of any pollen that’s on you. If you have pets who go outside, they will get pollen on their fur, so you’ll want to wash them too!
- Keep the windows and doors of your home closed as much as possible to stop pollen from getting inside
- Clean and vacuum your house regularly to remove pollen that does get inside
- Don’t smoke, or be around smoke, as this can worsen your symptoms
- Don’t bring fresh flowers inside, as these will likely produce or contain pollen
- Get a pollen filter for your car’s air vents if you drive
- When doing the laundry, dry your clothes inside rather than outside, so that they don’t get pollen on them