Hay Fever? What works…

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I quizzed the HayMax office on their top hay fever know-how. Here’s a roundup!

Q: Summer can mean misery for so many with hay fever, what are the most typical complaints/problems?

Sneezing, itchy and sore watery eyes, a scratchy throat, a bunged up nose and a general feeling of being unwell are all very common for hay fever sufferers.

In some more severe and rarer cases, hay fever can trigger asthma attacks or a nasty skin rash. Those with both asthma and hay fever should take extra care and remember their inhalers. Nothing ruins a summer picnic like a life threatening asthma attack.

Q: It’s too easy to just reach for the antihistamine, what can be done to help minimise the effects without medicine?

Prevention is better than cure. Avoiding the allergen is key with any allergy, and hay fever is no different. Avoiding pollen isn’t always easy but there are lots of simple tips and tricks which can help to minimise symptoms. (By the way- if antihistamines work for you, then they can be a good option, but lots of people are interested in a more natural approach, or find that their antihistamines don’t work very well, or for the whole day…At HayMax we take a holistic approach to allergy management, and don’t dismiss any of the treatments available, many of which are very helpful to people).

  • Keep doors and windows closed during high pollen count days, to prevent pollen from blowing in and settling around your home. In addition to this, beware that pets coming in from the outdoors will be coated in pollen grains, so be sure to groom them regularly (even a quick wet wipe over their fur will help).
  • On high pollen count days dry laundry indoors rather than on a clothes line. Tempting as it is to string up fresh bed linen in the mid-summer breeze, fabric acts as a pollen trap which is then put into wardrobes and onto beds.
  • Don’t forget your sunglasses. They will prevent pollen from blowing into your eyes, and will also help your eyes to relax, as squinting in bright sunlight can make sore eyes feel stressed and ten times more irritated!
  • Apply HayMax allergen barrier balm sparingly to the rim of the nostrils. HayMax has been proven to trap over a third of pollen before it can get into the body and cause a reaction.

Q: How about ideas for easing symptoms once they’ve already started?

If you’re already feeling rubbish, there are plenty of practical things you can do to help yourself feel better.

  • Use a saline rinse (neti pot or saline spray), to clear the nasal passages of pollen which has already entered the body.
  • Wash your face with cold, clean water. This will remove pollen and also cool and sooth sore eyes.
  • A cold compress on the eyes can be soothing.
  • Keep applying HayMax allergen barrier balm to limit extra pollen getting in that may cause further reaction.

Q: Is an air purifier the answer?

  • For hay fever sufferers, an air purifier may be helpful in enclosed areas, but it must have a HEPA filter and be aware that as soon as doors and windows are open, an air purifier may be futile.
  • When in the car, it is certainly beneficial to use the air conditioning rather than opening windows. Most modern cars have pollen filters fitted to the air conditioning. These may need replacing when the car is serviced.

Q: What about diet? Can we avoid certain things to help tackle hay fever?

  • Avoid alcohol. Alcohol contains histamine. Histamine is the chemical present in your body that is responsible for your hay fever symptoms.
  • Avoid dairy. Dairy is mucus producing so not ideal for already-snotty hay fever sufferers.
  • Do eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables as they are packed with immune system boosting antioxidants and may contribute to an overall feeling of better wellbeing.
  • A quick google search for ‘quercetin rich foods will bring up a long list of foods that are rich in the natural antihistamine. These include red apples, red onions, capers, cherries, berries and leafy green vegetables. It’s also important to eat foods containing bromelain, as this helps the body absorb quercetin. A popular source of bromelain is pineapple.

Q: Can you suggest ways to improve sleep for those with hay fever when it’s hot? Everyone knows that sleeping with windows closed in the summer is just unrealistic.

  • A fresh pillow case daily, or every couple of days will help you to get a good night’s sleep as it will be free from pollen.
  • A shower before bed will wash away pollen that has gathered on your skin and hair during the day.
  • HayMax before bed! An allergen barrier balm like HayMax will trap a proportion of the pollen that blows into your bedroom during the night, before it gets up your nose. As a bonus, HayMax also traps dust mite allergens, which can have hay fever-like effects in those who are allergic.

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