The warmer temperatures which come with spring are a welcome change from winter’s dark days for many of us.
However, the season also brings with it the unwelcome effects of hay fever. An extremely common allergy to pollen, hay fever usually begins in childhood with, interestingly, a higher incidence seen in boys than girls. Those with a family history of allergies, in particular asthma and eczema, are also more prone to hay fever.
Symptoms such as sneezing, a runny nose and itchy eyes and throat are well known and easily recognised but those with a severe allergy can also experience sweats, headaches, facial pain and a loss of smell.
There are around 30 types of pollen known to cause hay fever, with the most common ones in the UK being tree pollen (late March to mid-May), grass pollen (mid-May to July) and weed pollen (late June to September).
While it is impossible to completely ignore pollen, particularly on humid, windy days when it is more easily spread, there are a variety of different strategies that can be adopted to counteract hay fever’s disabling effects.
Some are obvious, such as keeping windows and doors shut when the pollen count is high and not keeping flowers in the house. However, things such as vacuuming regularly, drying clothes indoors and regularly washing pets to remove pollen from their fur can also make a significant difference.
When outdoors, wraparound sunglasses can help prevent the pollen’s effects on the eyes and using a pollen filter in your car’s air vents can also help reduce the effects while on the move.
Antihistamine nasal sprays, and tablets, as well as anti-allergy eye drops and nasal steroid sprays from the chemist are advisable for high pollen count days or when going outside is unavoidable.
But if you are struggling to control hay fever symptoms with over-the-counter preparations, it is worth discussing other treatment options with a doctor.
If you’d like advice on hay fever or any of the related illnesses, including eczema, asthma and acute infections such as sinusitis and ear infections, you can make an appointment by calling TFJ Private GP Services on 01926 436303 or by visiting www.tfjprivategp.co.uk.