Hayfever – what you need to know

Spring and summer are a wonderful time of year. Back are the lighter nights that provide us with beautiful displays of colour as the sun sets. Nature wakes up from the long winter months; birds sing, and animals start to shed their thick winter fur. Trees and plants finally begin to grow leaves again and start flowering as the weather warms up, but alas, this means only one thing for some of us: Hayfever.

Hayfever is an allergic reaction by the body to the inhaled dust and pollen from trees, flowers and grasses that causes the mucous membranes of the eyes and nose to inflame and causing running of the eyes and nose; and let me tell you, it's downright miserable!

The most common Hayfever symptoms include:
• A runny nose
• Red and itchy eyes
• Scratchy or sore throat
• Sneezing

We can also experience wheezing and shortness of breath alongside the above symptoms. Almost all sufferers have generalised feelings of fatigue, much like a cold is beginning.

How long do the symptoms last for?
For some people, symptoms last for a short period only, while the spring season is in full swing, but for others, reactions can continue through the summer months and into the autumn period when the grasses flower and mould and fungal spores begin to emerge.

For those of you who are long term sufferers, the condition may not just be hayfever. There is a condition known as Perennial Rhinitis that can mimic hayfever symptoms but is characterised by a sensitivity to other factors such as house dust mites or pet dander. It's well worth talking to your doctor for further tests.

Effective treatments for Hay Fever
When the pollen is high, it is recommended that suffers keep doors and windows closed in the space they work and live in. It can be of benefit to not dry clothes outside as the fabric may attract pollen spores.

There are over the counter remedies and prescribed drugs available to help relieve the symptoms, but be cautious as these may sometimes leave you feeling drowsy. Contact your Pharmacist or Doctor for further advice.

Many believe eating locally produced foods, such as honey, just before and throughout the season that affects you, can help you to build up an immunity to local allergens yet there is little scientific evidence to suggest that this indeed works. 

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