Suffering from hay fever can be a nuisance at this time of year, causing itchy eyes, a scratchy throat and a runny nose. Known medically as seasonal allergic rhinitis, hay fever is simply an allergic reaction to pollen and spores.
For those with hay fever, as the weather gets better, their symptoms get worse. We have rounded up some of the best tips for surviving the season.
1. Plan ahead
Check pollen counts - shown on most weather apps – before leaving the house, taking care to limit the time you spend outside on very windy days. Pollen counts tend to be highest around midday and decline gradually throughout the day, so if you do go outside, it is advised to do so later in the afternoon or evening.
If going outdoors, make sure to wear large sunglasses as pollen can get into the eyes and can get trapped in contact lenses.
2. Boost your immunity
Our immune systems recognise pollen as a threat, releasing chemicals that lead to inflammation. This is where the symptoms of itchy eyes and sneezing begin. Hay fever is linked with an oversensitive immune system, of which 70% is located in the gut, influenced by our gut flora.
To help boost your immune system and rebalance your gut flora, ask our friendly CarePlus Pharmacists about multi-strain live bacteria supplements. It is recommended that you start taking such a supplement one month before the pollen count is expected to reach its highest level.
3. Take an antihistamine
Do not wait until your allergy symptoms strike to take action. If you suffer with allergies, take an antihistamine first thing in the morning, before you leave the house. It is also advised to use a nasal spray, beginning daily use two weeks before the pollen count really starts to rise – typically the beginning of April.
Your local CarePlus Pharmacist can advise you on which products are best for you, and which can be taken together.
4. Home = Safe Zone
Pollen is sticky and therefore can be easily brought into the home. To avoiding triggering your symptoms in your home:
- Keep your windows closed
- Change out of & wash any clothes you have worn outdoors when you get home
- Wash your hair immediately when you get home
- If you have pets in your home, bathe them often, as pollen can stick to their fur and be tracked through the home
- Do not allow pets in your bedroom
4. Hydration is key
It is important to stay hydrated when you suffer from seasonal allergies. When you are dehydrated, the body can produce levels of histamine that can worsen the symptoms of your allergies. It is advised to drink 8 glasses of water daily to prevent dehydration.
5. Adjust your diet
Your diet can have a definite impact on your allergies. It is advised to “eat with the seasons.” During spring – the beginning of hay fever season – your diet should be filled with fresh foods. Foods that cause mucus production should be avoided, such as:
- Dairy products
- Processed food
- Very cold liquids
It is also advised to cut out pro-inflammatory foods such as:
- Processed meats
- Sugary drinks
Replace these pro-inflammatory foods with anti-inflammatory essential fats and antioxidants like green leafy vegetables, blueberries, pineapple, salmon, herbs and spices.