Spring is just around the corner, and for many of us, that means the onset of hayfever symptoms as trees and plants begin to bloom. Tree pollens are the first to arrive, followed by grass pollens which account for some 95% of hayfever cases, and then weeds and flowers make their appearance.
The warmer weather is certainly something to look forward to but not if you have to contend with running noses, itchy eyes and coughing all throughout the season. If you or someone close to you is a hayfever sufferer, here’s some useful tips on how to prepare for the upcoming hayfever season.
Get Ahead of Your Symptoms
Don’t wait for your symptoms to start to get treatment. Medications such as antihistamines can be enormously effective at treating hayfever, but studies suggest that they could be even more effective if you start using them before you really need them. Antihistamines such as Fexofenadine are a great solution to hayfever, and if you can check high pollen count days in advance, you’ll know when to ready yourself with hayfever tablets for the best results.
Don’t Line Dry Your Clothes
The warmer weather can be great for reducing the need for a tumble dryer but not if you need to limit your exposure to pollen. Pollen can cling to clothes, as fabric is a magnet for these spores, which you then bring into your home and put on. You should especially avoid being outside between 11am and 6pm, when pollen levels are usually at their peak, to minimise how much pollen clings to the clothes you’re wearing too.
Shower and Change Clothes
If you can’t avoid being outdoors, make sure that as soon as you come home, you change into clean clothes, wash the clothes you’ve been wearing on a hot wash and ideally, take a shower so that any pollen clinging to your hair or skin can be washed away.
Keep the Windows Closed
It can be tempting to want to open up windows and doors to let air flow through on warmer days, but it could be making your homes a haven for pollen and other allergens. Whether you’re indoors or in your car, make sure that you keep the windows shut. You may need to alter your air vents to help re-circulate the air inside rather than drawing in more air from outdoors, and check that your sunroof is shut too.
Try to Time Outdoor Activities to Low Pollen Count Hours
Pollen counts tend to be higher in the morning, so aim to schedule your outdoor activities to other times of day if you can, to minimise the chances of your allergies being triggered. A great compromise if you can’t do this is to head to the beach – beaches have lower pollen counts so they offer a great respite from grasses and trees.
Maintain a Clean Home
Dust, pollen and mould can all trigger allergies, and during hayfever season these are all at a higher level. So, it’s more important than ever to vacuum your home regularly, wash bed linen at a high temperature and dust with a damp cloth so that particles stick to the cleaning cloth rather than just being circulated back into the air. If you can, choose a vacuum that has a HEPA filter as these provide a more thorough job of reducing allergens.
Use a Barrier
It’s almost impossible to filter pollen from the air that you breathe, but there are ways to minimise the quantity that makes its way into your airways. You can buy natural beeswax barrier creams which can be used around the nostrils to trap pollen which enters through the nose, or you can use petroleum jelly for the same effect. Another option if your hayfever is particularly severe is to wear a microfibre face mask which will prevent pollen from being breathed in when you’re out of your home.
Stress is actually something which makes hayfever worse, so try to relax and get plenty of good quality sleep. It’s believed that the hormone cortisol is to blame, as when it’s released into the body during stressful periods, it can affect our immune system in a negative way. Put sleep high on your priority list as hayfever season approaches and try to keep your stress levels as low as possible.
Hayfever is an irritating and exhausting problem for many people, especially if you’re someone who suffers badly during the warmer months. But with these tips, you can help to reduce your symptoms to make life easier. From choosing an antihistamine to relieve your symptoms to keeping your home and clothes as free from pollen as you can, there are many ways to prepare for the upcoming spring and summer seasons.