Nothing dampens the excitement of summer faster than hay fever symptoms showing up.
Sneezing, itchy eyes, blocked airways – it’s really no fun. Hay fever comes around when our bodies produce allergic antibodies to the proteins in tree and grass pollen. When pollen is inhaled, the proteins then cause these antibodies to burst and release histamine.
Histamine is what causes that itchy skin, those streaming eyes and runny nose. It can also cause stuffiness, snoring, lack of sleep and susceptibility to infections and sinusitis.
According to the Met Office, the UK hay fever season lasts from late March all the way through to September. In the UK it’s pollen from birch, alder and hazel that cause the biggest problems, especially in early spring as they often pop up from February onwards. Then of cause the grass pollen takes its turn in from May onwards.
Our top tips on protecting yourself against hay fever
Pollen can stick to your clothes when you’re out and about so make sure that when you get home you get changed, having a quick shower can help too.
Wash your hair more
You may only need to wash your hair one or two times a week but giving your hair a regular rinse will get rid of the pollen stuck on it.
Know the forecast
Keeping an eye on the forecast and knowing when pollen is likely to be high can be the best way of staying protected. If it’s really high then it may be a good idea to stay indoors as much as possible.
Protect your nose
Stop pollen from getting up your nose by adding. Bit of vaseline around your nostrils. This will trap the pollen and help ease symptoms.
Quit smoking and drinking
If you’re a smoker then you may want to stop, smoke will irritate the lining of your airways making your allergies much worse. Same for alcohol, of course the summer is the perfect time to sit in the beer garden and enjoy a few ice cold glasses of beer but not only will being outside make your symptoms worse but alcohol also contains histamine, which can aggravate your symptoms.
Head to the beach
A trip to the seaside could be very good for your health, especially when it comes to calming your symptoms. The sea breeze will blow the pollen away before it even reaches you.
Order a curry
If you’re suffering from a stuffy nose then eating a spicy curry could make it easier to breathe. Other spices used in the curry such as turmeric are a natural anti-inflammatory.
Drink more tea
Try a chamomile or nettle tea to relieve your symptoms, as both have antihistamine and anti-inflammatory properties.
Keep away from food that produces histamines
You don’t want to make matters worse so avoid foods that either contain histamines or ones that produce it. These include cured meats, smoked meats, cheese, nuts and pickles.