Hay fever is an allergic inflammation of the nasal airways called Allergic Rhinitis. It is caused by allergens including pollen, dust or animal fur is inhaled by anyone with a sensitised immune system. The allergen then triggers various antibodies to create an allergic reaction with symptoms similar to that of a cold or flu. The symptoms include itchy, red, watery eyes, swelling and inflammation of the nasal passages and headaches. In Western countries approximately 10-25% of people suffer hayfever every year.
Ways you can help reduce hayfever include
- Monitor the pollen count and try and stay indoors if the count is high
- Try and stay inside as much as possible during spring or after a windy day/storm
- Choose plants to go in your garden that are pollinated by birds/insects as opposed to releasing seeds into the air
- Instead of lawn use artificial grass, bricked or paved areas
- Splash your eyes often to flush out any pollen
- Try and limit your contact with dust and dust mites as well as animals or animal fur
Treatment for Hayfever includes:
- Intranasal corticosteroid sprays: sprays that include low dose steroids are said to be one of the best forms of treatment for hayfever.
- Non –sedating antihistamine medications: They will help control sneezing and itching but are not as effective as the spray to help a heavily blocked or runny nose. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice if you are breastfeeding, as some medications can cause breastfed babies to become irritable and restless.
- Eye drops: will help with itchy, swollen or runny eyes. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for further advice on choosing the correct drops for you.
- Decongestant nasal sprays: Great for quick relief but should not be used for more than five days as long term use can damage the lining of your nose. Those who are pregnant or have high blood pressure should not use decongestants, it is important you discuss with your doctor or pharmacist before using these medications.