Preparing for Hay Fever Season

The warm weather has finally arrived, and the natural world is once again blossoming. For millions of people in the UK, this is an unwelcome development, as it means that sniffles, rashes and other allergic reactions are surely imminent. 

Hay fever might be viewed as an inconvenience by many – but it can be a substantial one. The good news is that there are a few steps we might take to minimise the problem.

What is hay fever?

Hay fever is among the more common kinds of allergic reaction. It’s triggered by the pollen generated by plants, including grasses, trees, flowers and even mould. 

Of course, plants don’t release pollen throughout the year. They instead store it up until the conditions are right for reproduction. This period typically falls between May and late July. 

Under certain conditions, the distribution of pollen, and therefore the severity of hay fever symptoms, are much worse. If the winter has been mild and the summer is dry, then plants will grow for longer – which means more pollen when it’s finally released. When it’s windy, moreover, the pollen can be spread over a larger area.

In England, around ten million people suffer from hay fever. This means around one in four adults and one in ten children. The good news is that your symptoms might abate over time. In some cases, they can disappear entirely. The bad news is that the opposite can happen – you might develop hay fever later in life, even if you aren’t worried about it now.

The symptoms of hay fever

So, what sorts of symptoms are we talking about? They range from the mild to the severe, depending on the person suffering and the amount of pollen they’re exposed to.

The most obvious symptom is sneezing and coughing. You might also find that your eyes itch and water, and that your nose begins to run. Headaches and fatigue are also common.

These symptoms are exacerbated by other chronic conditions, like asthma. Asthmatics might find themselves short of breath, and generally having more trouble breathing. 

How to treat hay fever

The NHS advises avoiding spending too much time around cut grass or fresh flowers, and limiting your outdoor time in general at this time of year. This isn’t always practicable, however.

While there’s no way to cure hay fever, we can address the symptoms in several ways. Smearing vaseline around your nostrils, for example, might help to trap the pollen there, and prevent you from actually breathing it in. 

You might also look into over-the-counter medication like antihistamines, which help to suppress your immune system’s normal reactions. Corticosteroids, similarly, might help to suppress inflammation and swelling. Nowadays, there are online services which help you to manage your medication, meaning that you can anticipate the pollen season and mitigate the problem proactively.

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