While many of us welcome the warmer weather, spring and summer may be especially difficult for hay fever sufferers. Pollen allergies are rather common, affecting around one in every five persons at some time in their lives. Summer is a season of runny noses and itchy eyes for sufferers—not the summer fun you were looking for!
Unfortunately, there is no cure for hayfever. But there are ways to cope up with hay fever so you can get back to living your life and enjoying the outdoors. The first step is to consult with your pharmacist. Antihistamines are extremely effective over-the-counter medicines. However, if your symptoms are severe, you should make a video chat with a doctor who will be able to prescribe tailored medicine.
So, what exactly is hay fever?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hay fever is a common disease that affects about 19 million American people.
Hay fever, commonly known as allergic rhinitis or nasal allergies, is a kind of allergy that can be seasonal, perennial (all year), or occupational. Rhinitis is an inflammation or irritation of the nose.
Common symptoms include:
- Runny nose
- Nasal congestion
- Watery, red, or itchy eyes
What Causes Hay Fever?
It is caused when the body produces allergic antibodies (IgE) in reaction to allergens such as pollen, house dust mites, or mold.
The most common allergen (May to July) is grass pollen. But tree (February to June) and weed pollen (June to September) pollens can also produce the allergic reaction known as hay fever. The symptoms of perennial allergic rhinitis last all year and are usually caused by indoor allergens such as home dust mites, pets (including birds), or mold.
How to cope up with hay fever season easily?
There is currently no treatment for hay fever, and you can prevent it. When the pollen count is high, you can take steps to cope up with hay fever.
Here are 11 essential tips for coping up with hay fever:
1. Check the pollen count
As your pollen allergy is at the root of your symptoms, avoiding contact with pollen is your best bet. Keep windows closed on days when the pollen count is very high. If at all possible, you should stay indoors. The count is usually highest in the morning and evening, so plan your day around it if possible. (A high count is measured as more than 50 grains per cubic meter of air.)
2. Make home a pollen-free zone
Don’t let the enemy in. If you have been exposed to pollen, change your clothing, take a shower, and wash your hair as soon as you arrive home. On heavy pollen days, experts recommend closing windows and dusting and vacuuming on a regular basis, ideally with a model that has a HEPA filter.
Avoid drying clothes outside because they can gather up pollen. And don’t bring flowers into the home, no matter how beautiful those blowsy summer blooms are. Keep in mind that pets may be pollen carriers. So bathe them on a regular basis when the pollen count is high.
3. FOLLOW YOUR GUT INSTINCT
We are becoming more aware of the role that ‘good bacteria’ plays in our immune system. And a new study from the United States shows that probiotics may have the ability to cope up with hay fever symptoms such as an itchy, clogged, or runny nose. Instead of yogurt, try boosting your probiotic intake with ‘live’ sauerkraut and kimchi, as dairy foods can increase mucus production. Miso soup is also strong in probiotics. And if you prepare it into a hot drink, it can help relieve a congested nose and sore throat.
4. Keep bed linen pollen-free
Hayfever affects the sleep of over two-thirds of adult patients and 90% of children with pollen allergies. Because this can cause fatigue and poor concentration, it is best to remove as much pollen as possible from your sleeping environment.
Pollen can easily accumulate in bed linen if it is stuck to your hair and skin. Pollen may be transferred onto pillow coverings if you do not shower when you enter the house. Because most pollen is almost undetectable, you may be unaware that it is there.
If you don’t have time to shower before bed, change your pillowcase in the morning and wash it as quickly as possible.
5. Air Purifier
Air purifiers work primarily by sanitizing the air, which can include pollutants, allergies, and toxins. And, according to a 2015 study, using one can help to cope up with hay fever symptoms of seasonal allergies such as hay fever.
Amazon and other vendors sell a variety of air purifiers. To begin your search, consider the following options:
- LEVOIT Home Air Purifier with H13 True HEPA Filter
- Medify MA-15 True HEPA Air Purifier with H13 Filter
- Vornado AC350 True HEPA Filter Air Purifier
You can also search for Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America-certified asthma and allergy-friendly air purifiers and filters. An allergist may also have advice tailored to your specific needs and lifestyle.
6. Purchase a pollen filter for your car
It might be difficult to keep car windows closed in hot weather, and pollen finds other ways in! A pollen filter for your car’s air vents can be purchased, but it must be changed with every service.
7. Use eye drops
Itchy, streaming eyes are one of the most unpleasant symptoms of hay fever. When pollen is wreaking havoc on your eyes, it might be impossible to get anything done at work or drive safely. You can reduce these symptoms with anti-inflammatory eye drops, which are available at your local drugstore.
8. Give yourself an eyewash
You can buy eye wash kits, which usually include an eye-sensitive solution and a special cup for holding the washing solution over your eye. You may also use clean water to clear your eyes. Disposable eye wipes can also be used to clean the outside of your eye. The Eye Doctor Lid Wipes are a perfect option because they are designed for sensitive eyes.
9. Wear Sunglasses
No doubt you dug out your favorite pair of Ray-Bans or Celine sunglasses as soon as the temperature reached 15 degrees. But it is especially important to wear sunglasses when outside – not just for UV protection but also to protect your eyes from the high pollen count. Larger butterfly or wrap-around sunglasses that cover a larger area of the eye is very beneficial. Polar sunglasses provide extra protection from reflected light and glare. It’s also vital to cover your eyes from the sun.
10. Limit Your Exposure
The pollen count is generally highest early in the morning and late in the evening. So try to stay indoors and keep the windows closed if possible during these hours. If you must go out, try to avoid areas with huge areas of grass, plants, and flowers, as the pollen count will be significantly higher. You can also put a pollen filter in your car’s air conditioning system.
11. Wearing a mask
Wearing a mask is now mandatory in some areas, which is great news for people who suffer from hay fever. So, wearing a mask can decrease your exposure to pollen and other allergens, potentially relieving your symptoms.
Simply put on your mask properly when going outside.
The bottom line
Hay fever may cause havoc on our sinuses, but it is rarely dangerous. But, you should seek medical advice if:
- Your symptoms aren’t improving despite taking over-the-counter medicines
- Your hay fever lasts all year
- If you have severe symptoms
If you want to know the specific reason for your allergy, you can ask your doctor or a specialist for an allergy test.