With the beginning of spring many of us might find our allergies start to act up. But did you know that asthma and allergies are linked?
In fact, 80% of people with asthma also have an allergy, with one in five having hay fever. Hay fever is an allergy to pollen which can cause a blocked or runny nose, sneezing and itchy eyes. For many people with asthma, hay fever can impact their daily lives.
When is hay fever a problem?
You may think hay fever will only affect you during the hotter months of the year. But, if you have asthma, pollen’s not just a problem during the summer months. Grass pollen, a very common hay fever trigger, usually starts around April. But trees like Hazel and Alder can start to release their pollen as early as January. Asthma UK’s pollen calendar can help you work out when you might be reacting, which can help you plan ahead for next year when you’re likely to react at a similar time. By planning ahead you will know when it is best to take your hay fever medicines.
Who can help?
Your pharmacist, as well as your GP, can help you manage your symptoms. If you find you get hay fever, you don’t have to put up with it. Speak to your GP or asthma nurse who can help you update your asthma action plan and may suggest extra medication during pollen season to help keep your hay fever under control.
They can also check that you’re taking your inhalers in the best way possible; to make it less likely that hay fever will trigger your asthma. Your pharmacist can also check your inhaler technique, and recommend hay fever medicines, without an appointment.
How to keep on top of your asthma in the hay fever season?
It’s hard to avoid pollen, so the best way to stop hay fever triggering your asthma symptoms is to get, and keep, the basics of your asthma under control. Make sure to:
- See your GP or asthma nurse at least once a year for your asthma review and to check your action plan is still working for you.
- Fill in a written asthma action plan with your GP or asthma nurse, so you know what to do every day, when you’re feeling worse, and if there’s an emergency.
- Take your preventer medicine every day, even when you’re feeling well, so your airways are less likely to react to pollen or anything else that’s a trigger for you like smoke or stress.
Why not follow Asthma UK on Twitter for pollen alerts?