Hay fever is common in the spring and summer months with as many as 10-30% of all adults experiencing it (also known as allergic rhinitis) (1).
For those of us who also have asthma, hay fever can be an asthma trigger.
Here are some ways you can manage your hay fever and asthma.
Symptoms of hay fever to watch out for:
According to Asthma UK (2) common symptoms are:
- A runny or blocked nose
- Sneezing and coughing
- Itchy or watery eyes
If you have hay fever and it triggers your asthma, you might also notice:
- A shortness of breath
- A tight chest
What causes hay fever:
It is caused by a reaction to pollen from grass, tress and weeds which is commonly released during the spring and summer months. The different types of pollen are released at different times throughout the seasons.
- Tree pollen is typically highest from late March to mid-May
- Grass pollen is highest mid-May to July, and around 95% of people’s hay fever is trigged by grass pollen (2)
- Weed pollen is at highest from the end of June until September
How to reduce the risk:
There are a few things you can do to help manage your hay fever and asthma; this includes (2):
- Carrying your reliever inhaler every day. This is usually a blue inhaler, which works to quickly relax muscles in your airways to ease your symptoms on the spot.
- Take your preventer inhaler as prescribed. This inhaler helps to reduce the sensitivity and swelling in your airways to help prevent wheezing and coughing before they start.
- Treat your hay fever with over the counter treatments.
If you experience multiple symptoms, you might find it helpful to try more than one treatment to help with your symptoms.
For more information, here’s our blog on how to choose the right hay fever relief. It’s also best to reduce your exposure to pollen when you can, you could try putting a smear of Vaseline around your nostrils to trap the pollen, shower and change your clothes after you’ve been outside to wash any pollen off and wear wrap around sunglasses to protect your eyes.
When to speak to your GP:
If you are struggling to manage your hay fever with the usual treatments or it’s getting worse it could trigger your asthma symptoms or an asthma attack, so it’s best to speak to your GP. They might be able to recommend other treatment options to help or refer you to an allergy specialist.