Anyone with hay fever will know that pollen levels are extremely high in certain parts of the country right now.
It’s the height of the pollen season, and a heatwave appears to have exacerbated symptoms including runny noses, irritated eyes, and sneezing.
Antihistamine tablets are usually the first port of call for hay fever sufferers, but there are other ways to reduce pollen’s effects and make it through summer.
We’ve compiled a list of hacks you can use with or instead of medication, soothing your eyes and relieving sore, sneezy noses.
1. Petroleum jelly
Barrier methods are among the best ways to protect yourself against pollen, stopping it getting into your body in the first place.
Use petroleum jelly – or another thick balm-like product – around your nose (and below your eye sockets if you need to) to stop the pollen in its tracks.
2. Refrigerated eye drops
If you use eye drops to relieve hay fever symptoms, you’ll want to be careful where you keep them.
Storing drops in the fridge means they’re cooling when applied, but also helps with the product’s efficacy long-term. They work best and last longer when kept below room temperature, so bear that in mind.
3. Designated changing space
Pollen sticks around on fibres like clothes, so whenever you go out in it, it’s a good idea to ensure you’re not bringing it back into your home.
As soon as you get home, head into the bathroom to get changed. Put your clothes in the wash right away, too.
4. Dry clothes indoors
Again, this is all about ensuring your clothes don’t become covered in pollen, which will happen if they’re aired outdoors.
It may be tempting to have your things dried in the fresh air, but keeping them indoors reduces the itchy and runny symptoms that stop you enjoying the sun.
5. Wash your hair at night
Like the fibres of your clothes, pollen often gets trapped in hair. If you have this pollen in your hair when you go to bed, it’ll stay on your pillow and be breathed in all night.
Wash your hair when you get home in the evening, and it’ll make it a lot easy to sleep during hay fever season.
6. Wraparound sunglasses
If your eyes are where you feel the effects of hay fever most, wearing wraparound sunglasses is an easy prevention method.
They should protect your peepers from the worst of the pollen.
Many people swear by a spoonful of (preferably local) honey for relieving hay fever.
It’s thought that the bee pollen in the honey helps your body acclimatise to the allergen.
8. Dry eye spray
It might seem counterproductive to use a product for dry eyes when they’re running and weeping.
But a product like Peep Club Instant Relief Eye Spray or Optrex Actimist helps to moisten your eyes and regulate tear production. Just spray onto closed eyes and the solution will be blinked in.
9. Neti pot
Using a product like a neti pot to wash out your nasal passages is a great way to find relief.
They look like a teapot or lamp, and you pour sterilised water or saline solution into your nostrils to rinse out any lingering pollen and open the airways.
10. Vitamin C
Studies have shown that vitamin c is a natural antihistamine, so eating foods rich in the nutrient – or taking supplements – may help you get through pollen season.
Some of the symptoms of hay fever, like a scratchy throat, are made worse by dry air.
Using a humidifier in the house, or having a steamy shower, could help things feel less itchy and painful.
12. A cuppa
Tea has antioxidant properties that can help your body protect against hay fever
Green tea, especially, was found to block a key cell receptor involved in producing an allergic response. So, a simple cup of tea could make this weather far more bearable.
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