Spring is when the world slowly starts to come to life again – the days seem longer, the sun (hopefully) begins to shine, and trees and plants begin to flower once more. But for many, the allergies that come with it can signal the start of a season of suffering.
Triggers for hay fever include pollens such as grass, tree and plant, which can cause a variety of unpleasant symptoms. These include sneezing, coughing, itchy eyes, congestion and headaches. Unfortunately, suffering can last weeks or months, depending on the type of pollen you’re allergic to.
However, there are steps you can take to reduce the suffering so you can still enjoy the warmer months.
While no one wants to spend all spring inside the house, it can be beneficial to reduce your time outdoors on days when the pollen count is at its highest. Check the pollen forecast in your area in advance so you’re well prepared.
It can also be useful to keep doors and windows closed to prevent pollen from entering the home, and refrain from bringing fresh flowers or plants indoors. Dry clothing inside rather than on an outdoor washing line and limit gardening activities on high pollen days.
If your symptoms are extreme, it could be worth investing in a good quality air purifier to filter out the pollen. Always remember to weigh up the financial aspects before making a large purchase.
Use over-the-counter medicines
To get a proper diagnosis, it’s important to see your GP. They will be able to tell you if your symptoms are related to allergies. Once you know for sure, you can try medicines such as nasal sprays, eye drops and antihistamines. Many of these can be bought without a prescription from pharmacies or even supermarkets.
Your GP may advise trying one or two at a time to find out which works best for you. It’s also a good idea to carry medicines during the spring and summer months, especially if you’re travelling or on holiday.
Vacuuming frequently, regular showering, and changing clothes often can prevent a build-up of pollen in the home.
If you suffer from congestion, applying a little Vaseline around your nose area can help trap pollen before it begins causing symptoms.
It’s also worth remembering that pets can bring pollen indoors on their fur and skin so, if possible, keep them outside or brush their coat thoroughly before they enter the home.
While you might not be able to avoid contact with all triggers, following these steps can help reduce your exposure and ease your symptoms without having to miss out too much on the great outdoors.