The hay fever season is now upon us and will be around until September with the warm, humid and windy days bringing the most discomfort. Hay fever can affect every sufferer differently; sometimes you suffer every year, sometimes every other year, sometimes quite mildly and then sometimes quite badly and may never know what your trigger is.
The common causes of hay fever are pollens from trees, grasses or weeds or airborne mould spores. Research suggests that pollution can also make allergies worse.
Hay fever or ‘Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis’ is a seasonal disorder, due to environment. It provokes a response by the body to an allergen, an irritation and inflammation of the mucous membrane inside the nose affecting a massive 13 million people in the UK with 1 in 5 people suffering at some point during their life.
- Sneezing and/or coughing
- A runny or blocked nose
- Itchy, red or watery eyes
- Itchy throat, mouth, nose and ears
If you have asthma you may also find this is worse.
Unfortunately hay fever can’t be cured or treated, but you can get several medicines from the pharmacy to help manage your symptoms. These come in a variety of forms such as tablets, eye drops or nasal sprays and what works best for one person may not be best for another. There are many different over-the-counter products available but most contain the same ‘generic’ ingredient which is the only or main active ingredient in the tablet. The most common ingredients are Cetirizine and Loratidine. Depending on the brand of product the prices vary hugely but buying the cheaper option is just as good as the expensive ones. Most tablets available now are second generation antihistamines, which means they are non-drowsy.
If your hay fever is severe or unmanageable then see your GP. They can prescribe stronger medicines such as steroids if these are necessary.
Allergies can exist all year round for some people, as can intolerances – usually to food. A food allergy causes an immune reaction that affects numerous organs in the body, sometimes life-threatening. An intolerance is less severe and a food intolerance is more common than a food allergy; because the symptoms can be similar often people confuse the two. If you think you have reactions to certain foods such as mild or severe bloating, tiredness, itchiness, headaches or bowel problems you can get tested to see which foods can be causing these symptoms. Brandwood Clinic can provide these tests, for more information read more here.