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Though it is almost impossible to avoid the pollen and spores that cause this common allergy, there are a number of treatments available and several tips for easing those tiring symptoms.
The NHS has plenty of good advice for hay fever sufferers, showing there are simple things you can do to reduce the severity of your symptoms.
As obvious as it may sound, avoiding wandering through grassy areas and mowing the lawn (get a hay fever-free relative to do it for you!) will help to reduce the irritation caused by pollen. If possible, keep windows and doors in the house shut, drawing curtains to keep the temperature down if necessary. Fresh flowers in the house are an obvious no-no and regular vacuuming and damp-dusting will collect any stray pollen from being spread through your home.
Of course, it's generally not feasible to stay indoors for the duration of the spring and summer so when you are outside, wear wraparound sunglasses that will help to prevent pollen getting into your eyes. Commuting motorists may find a pollen filter for the air vents useful. If you have been enjoying the warm summer sun but fear you will suffer for it later, change your clothes once you're indoors and take a shower to remove any pollen you may have picked up.
Asthma sufferers should pay particular attention to the above as hayfever often exacerbates the symptoms.
Though prevention is better than cure, as we mentioned before, avoiding your allergy trigger is a tricky business. Thankfully there are a number of over-the-counter treatments available, as well as some that can be prescribed by your GP.
For those whose symptoms affect the eyes or nose only, drops or nasal sprays may prove the best option. If you are lumbered with the full range, however, an antihistamine tablet or nasal spray will help to reduce the symptoms. Corticosteroid nasal sprays or drops, either prescribed or over-the-counter, will help if a blocked nose is your primary symptom as they reduce the inflammation inside the nose. However, severe symptoms may require a prescribed oral corticosteroid and these, though they often provide fast relief, can have side effects such as irritability and weight gain.
If none of the above treatments offer any relief from your symptoms, a doctor may recommend immunotherapy at a specialist medical centre. This involves gradually introducing the sufferer to small amounts of your particular trigger. As the quantity of the allergen is slowly increased, the sufferer's tolerance often improves too, thereby producing long-term results. However, the NHS advises that this treatment is not recommended for those with asthma and it may take months to be effective.
Simple lifestyle changes
According to the NHS, a recent survey of more than 2,000 people found that a few simple lifestyle changes, such as regular exercise, a healthy diet and a good night's sleep, can all significantly reduce the symptoms of hayfever.