Incessant sneezing, runny, red hot nose, dry itchy eyes and a banging head from wheezing all the time, it’s exhausting!
So far it’s really proving to be far from a summer of fun for hay fever sufferers.
While we love verdant trees, green grasses (grass pollen being the most common cause of hay fever coming into July) and flower beds to delight our bees and boost our picnic plans, the pollen plants release cause any number of allergic reactions.
And this year seems to be particularly bad thanks to a cool, wet May and dips and highs in June temperatures. According to Allergy UK, hay fever affects between 10% and 30% of all adults, with lower pollen counts in urban areas compared to the countryside.
According to Allergy Ireland, about 25% of all Europeans suffer some type of nose/sinus/chest allergy and this is set to rise to 50% within the next decade
Hay fever sufferers should have antihistamines handy and should visit their GP if things get really bad, but in the meantime, here’s how to help ease any irritation, at least a little…
1. Be prepared with an app
My Pollen Forecast Pro UK is cited as one of the best apps for tracking the pollen count and your allergens. With a five day forecast, a diary feature to track your allergies and a live pollen map, at least it can help you prep for the great outdoors. Available on the App Store.
The Asmtha Society of Ireland offers a similar app with a pollen tracker for daily updates on pollen levels around Ireland, including a forecast and predictions for the following day. Plus it’s free.
2. Keep the windows closed
Sunshine and blue skies? It’s only natural to want to throw open the windows. Unfortunately, this can let all those nasties in, so try to avoid opening them during peak pollen hours of late morning and late afternoon; and close them at night when there’s a high pollen count too.
3. Vaseline can help in various ways
A godsend when you have dry lips, eyelids or cracked skin, Vaseline can also help soothe and protect your nose. Try smearing it inside each nostril to ease any soreness and catch pollen entering the nasal passages.
4. Take a cool shower
If you’re eyes are streaming and you can’t stop sneezing, take refuge under the coolness of cold running water. Not only will it help ease symptoms, but you should wash your hair and change you’re clothing if you’ve been spending any length of time sitting or working outside. If a shower isn’t practical, put a cold facecloth on your face and lie down for a few minutes.
5. Used tea bags can help ease puffy eyes
Make the most of your morning cuppa by putting used tea bags in the fridge and use them as a cold compress to help relieve any swelling and soothe sore, itchy eyes. Cucumber slices can work too.
6. Keep your face mask on
Face masks have become so much the norm, you may as well use them to filter out particles of pollen. Especially with summer socials in full swing, if you’re going on a picnic, it’s windy or you have to mow the lawn… eek!
7. Wear wraparound sunglasses
Fashionable, sporty and with a fair chance of slightly increased protection against pollen getting in your eyes, a cool pair of wraparound sunnies is your best summer investment – an A-list accessory with benefits.