Hay fever season: how to cope with rising pollen counts

hay fever seasonIf you’re a hay fever sufferer you may have been secretly pleased with the cold spring, a welcome relief from sneezing, wheezing and red eyes. Hay fever season usually begins in March, when it can feel like Mother Nature’s got a personal grudge against you. However this year things are looking different.

Normally in spring, pollen is released by firstly the trees, grass and then other plants in a process that is spread out over the summer period. However the cold snap we experienced this year meant the plants were waiting for the weather to improve as well. As the release of pollen has been delayed forecasters are concerned that it will be delivered in a concentrated surge that is going to make for a difficult summer for those with hay fever.

Attack of the spores

Pollen is released by flowering plants on days with good weather. If the temperature reaches 15 degrees grass will open its flowers while the party really gets going when it gets above 17 degrees.

Convection currents can provide welcome relief on particularly sunny days, as they lift pollen up and away from sufferers’ red faces. However the payback occurs during mornings and evenings when those with hay fever will find levels worse.

Run away

As pollen counts rise a plan to try and minimise your exposure is important. Avoid skipping through fields early in the morning and late in the evening, but of course if you have to go to work then wear protective sunglasses and keep your car windows wound up.

If you or anyone in your family is a severe sufferer then consider getting everyone to shower and change clothes when they get home to try and keep indoors a safe haven. Also, although not a natural summer activity, it can help to vacuum regularly.

If you’re in the unfortunate position of being a gardener and a hay fever sufferer there is some action you can take that will make the garden more relaxing retreat than savage beast.

Consider the plants that you surround yourself with in terms of your (or your family’s) allergy. Avoid wind-pollinated plants and get rid of the lawn if you’re a particularly severe sufferer. If you can’t bear to part with your grass wear a mask, change your clothes before you go indoors and keep your windows closed in the mornings.

Fight back

Whatever you do to avoid it, the pollen will find you. Not all medication is suitable for everyone with hay fever, and some are better than others for certain symptoms.

Antihistamines tackle the common symptoms like sneezing runny noses and itchy eyes-and need to be taken once a day to be effective. There is now a range of non-sedative anti-histamines available, such as Loratadine, Cetirizine and Telfast. This means that, as individual response can vary greatly, if yours stops working there are alternatives you can try.

Nasal Congestion or severe eye symptoms can be helped with medication nasal sprays or eye drops. Nasal sprays can contain anti-histamines, steroids or a combination of both. You can combine eye drops, nasal sprays and anti-histamine tablets for severe symptoms.

If you also have asthma or other allergies that can cause additional complications, contact your GP for advice on the best treatment for you.

Contact us for a consultation on how to survive this hay fever season.