WITH summer just around the corner, the pollen count across the UK is expected to rise, bringing with it the unwanted menace of hay fever.

Also known as allergic rhinitis, hay fever occurs when the body reacts to histamine, a substance released in response to allergens such as tree pollen and grass pollen.

Grass pollen levels peak in May and June and weed pollen counts remain high over the summer – around six months of the year can stimulate hay fever symptoms.

Hay Fever symptoms

  • Sneezing
  • Runny/ blocked nose
  • Itchy/ watery eyes
  • Fatigue
  • Sinus pressure

How to prevent hay fever

  • Apply petroleum jelly around the nostrils to catch pollen before it can enter your system
  • Keep windows closed to limit pollen entering the home
  • Wash clothes after being outside to rid them of any trapped pollen
  • Shower after being outside to wash away any pollen from skin and hair
  • Wear sunglasses to limit pollen entering the eyes

How can you ease hay fever symptoms?

Navin Khosla, pharmacist at Now Patient, recommends antihistamines as the best way to reduce overall inflammation caused by hay fever.

While he recommended decongestant nasal sprays if you are suffering from a blocked nose or sinus pressure.

Khosla said: “Hay fever can be a debilitating illness for many, affecting millions of people across the UK. With pollen counts being higher earlier this year, knowing the causes, symptoms and remedies for the reaction is important.

“If you are finding yourself struggling with hay fever and the associated symptoms, you may want to discuss this with your pharmacist about over-the-counter treatments. These can include antihistamines for excessive sneezing and itchiness; decongestion nose sprays for blocked nose or inflamed passages; and eyedrops for discomfort in the eyes caused by the reaction.

“If symptoms do not ease then it is advised that you visit your GP who may be able to prescribe more intense treatments for your hay fever.

“There are also a few home remedies that can lessen hay fever symptoms. These include placing Vaseline around your nostrils to catch pollen before it enters your systems, therefore keeping histamine production at bay.

“For blocked noses and sinus discomfort, steaming your passageways can help loosen the blockage - alternate this with cold compresses to help relieve pain and inflammation in your sinuses. Local honey is often also advised, if it is made locally it is likely a result of the local pollen, therefore you can slowly build up your immunity through ingestion.

“Unfortunately, there is no ‘cure’ for hay fever and therefore taking the necessary precautions to limit or prevent symptoms can make high-pollen seasons that bit more bearable.”