Hay fever is a real pain in the backside. Itchy eyes, ears, nose, throat, permanently bunged up nose, headaches…it can ruin your summer and disrupt your day to day life. My poor mum used to suffer terribly and got to the point of having to get the hay fever jab before the Spring arrived. I also get the symptoms when the Spring begins, but it varies from year to year how bad it is. I had an allergy test at the doctor’s a few years ago and the results said I was allergic to grass pollen, tree pollen, dust mites and nickel. Reading around, I realised that the allergy I developed to raw apples and fruits with stones (like peaches and plums) were linked to the allergy to birch tree pollen as they share similar proteins.
When do your hay fever symptoms appear?
- Mid March-Mid June = Birch tree pollen
- Late May – Mid Sept = Grass pollen
- Late Summer = Weed pollen
- Autumn (mainly indoors) = Mould spores
- April – May (in big city) = Plane tree pollen + pollution
- All year round = Pet dander, mould spores, fungal spores, dust mites etc
(50 Things You Can Do to Manage Hay Fever)
Check out the pollen forecast for more information: http://www.pollenforecast.org
So how to manage it? Here are some tips I have collected over the years.
- Wear sunglasses outdoors to protect your eyes
- Put a layer of Vaseline around and just inside your nostrils to trap the pollen
- Keep windows closed
- Swap contact lenses for glasses during peak season
- Drink chilled water before leaving the house to calm your system down
- Dry washing indoors so it doesn’t get pollen all over it
- When you got home, shower, change clothes and launder your outdoor clothes
- Avoid damp woodland
- Keep car windows closed and put air con on in re-circulate mode
- Avoid gardening and mowing the lawn
- Ask someone to brush or wash pets that have been outdoors
- Vacuum regularly with a HEPA filter vacuum (Dyson do a good one)
- Try drinking nettle tea
- Try eating locally produced honey before symptoms usually begin
- Avoid or reduce stress where possible
- Avoid smoky environments or give up smoking!
I find that chemical household sprays make me sneeze, so I tend to use homemade cleaners . Good alternatives to have in your cupboard are borax, bicarbonate of soda, white vinegar, citric acid, olive oil and tea tree oil.
Perfumes and spray deodorants also tend to irritate the nose, so switch over to perfume oils (Body Shop does a good collection of exotic scents) or rollerball essential oil blends for something therapeutic (check out Neal’s Yard or Tisserand) and use stick or roll-on deodorants. (I would say switch to non-spray deodorants regardless of whether you have hay fever or not because of what you are probably breathing in on a daily basis).
For more tips, check out this great reading list:
- Green, Wendy, 50 Things You Can Do Today to Manage Hay Fever, Summersdale Publishers Ltd, Chichester, 2010
- Hicks, Dr Rob, Beat Your Allergies, Infinite Ideas, Oxford, 2007
Stock Photo courtesy of xedos4 @ freedigitalphotos.net