10 simple & practical solutions for controlling your hay fever
Date: May 2019
Hay fever affects 1 in 5 people in the UK and if you suffer from it, you’ll know that when your symptoms kick in it can really start to mess with your day! However, with our top tips and some careful planning, you can avoid letting hay fever take over your life this Summer.
What causes hay fever?
Hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen and there are three types that you might be allergic to, which are tree pollen, grass pollen and weed pollen.
Each produce a light pollen that is carried from one tree or plant to another by the wind and this is where hay fever sufferers get caught in the process.
Some people are allergic to just one type of pollen but can be allergic up to all three.
How to check if you have hay fever:
Do you have any of these common symptoms?
- a runny or blocked nose
- itchy, red or watery eyes
- sneezing and coughing
- loss of smell
- itchy throat, mouth, nose and ears
- pain around your temples and forehead
There may also be other reasons for hay fever, too. Having another condition can worsen hay fever symptoms, such as nasal polyps, asthma or frequent sinus infections, and spores from indoor and outdoor fungi and mould can also have an effect on your hay fever.
10 helpful tips to help you deal with hay fever
While there's currently no cure for hay fever, there are some things you can do things to ease your symptoms when the pollen count is high. Here are our top tips:
1 - Keep an eye on pollen counts
Hay fever season is late March to September and can affect you especially when it’s warm, humid and windy. This is when the pollen count is at its highest.
If you find you are allergic to all three types of pollen, it can help to know when each pollen count is at its highest:
- Tree pollen: late March - mid May during Spring
- Grass pollen: mid May – July during Summer
- Weed pollen: late June – September late Autumn
Getting to grips with daily pollen counts can help you avoid times where you will most likely be affected. The Met Office have a helpful pollen count map to help you check the daily count in your area.
2- Check the weather forecast
In addition to checking pollen counts, keeping an eye on the weather forecast can really help you look at when to stay indoors on hot, dry and windy days when pollen counts are at their highest.
3. Get some vitamin C to help hay fever
Vitamin C is important for anyone but especially for those who suffer during hay fever season, as it supports your immune system and helps fight off any nasty pollen-related symptoms. Try making a smoothie to help you top up on vitamin C and other essential hay fever-fighting nutrients.
4. Shower before bed
Although many of us prefer to shower in the morning to wake up and feel fresh before a day at work, when it’s hay fever season it’s definitely worth either having two showers or switching your routine to shower at night. This is because pollen has a tendency to stick to your skin and in your hair, so washing in the evening will help you feel better and relieve any symptoms like irritated eyes before bed.
5. Change your bedding regularly (& wash your sheets more)
Speaking of bed time… When it’s hot outside, it can be really tempting to burst open all the windows for some fresh air but this actually lets in more pollen, which can stick to your bedding and pillows. If you find your eyes are itchy in the morning, then this could be the exact reason.
Either change your bed sheets and pillowcases or wash your sheets more regularly to ensure you keep that pollen at bay. Plus, who doesn’t love getting into bed with crisp, clean sheets?
6. Consider pollen filters for hay fever
Pollen filters can be a real life-saver if you suffer with hay fever. If you have air conditioning in your car or at work, check to see if these have pollen filters fitted.
These trap particles in the air so you can enjoy the cool air without worrying about encountering any pollen. Remember, these filters need to be cleaned regularly to make them more effective, and you’ll probably want to ask someone to do this on your behalf!
7. Spring clean your home
Take your cleaning to the next level and help reduce the amount of pollen in your home. Regular deep cleaning such as hoovering in all those hard to reach places and wiping down surfaces with a damp cloth will help reduce pollen and cause you less irritation.
8. Cut down on pet time
Yes, you love your pet(s) but they might be making your hay fever worse. This is because of something called pet dander, which are dead skin flakes that can trigger your hay fever reactions.
Set out a specific area in the home for your cat or dog and make sure it doesn’t get into the bedroom or on your furniture. It’s also worth avoiding any deep pile carpets or loose rugs, which are prone to collecting dust mites.
9. Avoid strong scents
If you have hay fever, you might find that strong scents have a tendency to make your symptoms flare up. Odours such as smoke for example can swell nasal passageways, and can also irritate your nose and cause congestion. Other poignant scents, including perfumes, flowers and cleaning products can also have the same effect so it’s best to avoid them when possible.
10. See a doctor about your hay fever symptoms
As always, our advice is only to be treated as a guideline and if you suffer from hay fever and you find your symptoms are getting worse, it’s always best to visit a doctor or pharmacist to get the right medical advice for yourself.
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Last revised: 1 May 2019
Next review: 1 May 2022