Pic: Shutterstock / MANDY GODBEHEAR
While many Brits look forward to the sunshine and warm weather of the season, for others, summer means just one thing - hay fever. From runny noses to puffy eyes, the symptoms can cause misery during the warmer months, but there are products out there that can help.
For the eyes
There are many eye drops available to help hay fever sufferers, but for one that comes recommended by the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology, try the Optrex Multi Action Eye Wash. It gets rid of any pollen and relieves the itching, though it may not be suitable if you are a contact lens wearer. While eye drops or an eye bath can treat the redness and itching, it won't deal with the puffiness and skin irritation. Thankfully Skin Shop's Dry Eye Gel is a non-greasy, soothing gel that will take of it.
For the nose
In the nasal spray department, Prevalin Allergy could be a winner. Twice voted Allergy Pharmacy Product of the Year, it not only relieves the symptoms in both eyes and nose, but it also forms a protective barrier to prevent that pesky pollen doing its thing in the first place.
Antihistamines come in many forms, but BecoAllergy one-a-day tablets contain cetirizine, which blocks histamine receptors so your body won't react to the allergens causing the problem. It is said to start working within the hour, and keep easing runny noses and eyes for a full 24 hours.
If your symptoms are very bad, immune therapy could be the answer, and it's available on the NHS. Products such as Grazax work by desensitising the patient. The tablets contain grass pollen, and over time symptoms diminish - but you need to think ahead, as you'll need to start taking them two months before the season, and you may need to take them for three years to get the long-term relief you seek.
It may sound strange, but a healthy gut makes for a healthy immune system, and for that reason, nutritionists recommend a probiotic. Researchers at the Institute of Food Research discovered that a daily probiotic drink containing Lactobacillus casei changed the way the body's immune system responds to grass pollen, and the study was backed up by another, published last year in the journal PLoS One, which revealed that probiotics can produce systematic changes to the cells lining the nasal cavity. Team a daily drink or supplement with antihistamines, and you could start to feel the difference.
Do you suffer with hay fever? What do you find helps to ease your symptoms? Leave your comments below...