As we start to enjoy the longer days, the brighter skies, and the blossoming gardens that come with spring, we also find ourselves bracing for the dreaded hay fever season.
Hay fever is an allergic response from your immune system that causes sneezing, runny nose, and watery, itchy eyes. The severity of symptoms can vary from day to day depending on the trigger – some people only experience hay fever in response to seasonal allergens like pollens and grass, while others are affected by year-round triggers like dust mites and animal hair.
Typically, hay fever can be managed by limiting exposure to allergens and by using medications such as antihistamines, decongestants, and nasal sprays.
If you find that hay fever symptoms are severe or are having a persistent impact on your lifestyle, visit your doctor to discuss treatment options or to investigate allergy testing.
See the list below for a number of easily-implementable ways to limit exposure to seasonal allergens:
- Stay indoors until after midday, especially when the pollen count is high, it’s windy, or after thunderstorms (you can check today’s pollen count here).
- Wear sunglasses, carry tissues, shower when you arrive home, and rinse your eyes with water.
- If your trigger is grass, avoid mowing, playing or walking in grassy areas, and don’t go camping.
- Keep windows closed at home and in the car, and use recirculating air conditioning in the car.
- Avoid outdoor picnics during pollen season.
- Try to plan holidays out of the pollen season, or holiday at the seaside.
- If gardening at home, research which plants are less likely to trigger hay fever. Remove any weeds or vegetation outside your bedroom window that might trigger symptoms.