Otherwise known as seasonal allergic rhinitis, hayfever is a reaction to airborne substances, such as pollen, that gets into the upper respiratory passages – the nose, sinus, throat – and the eyes. The symptoms usually appear in childhood and lessen by the age of 30 or 40.
Perennial allergic rhinitis is a similar allergy to hayfever that occurs all year round and is caused by things like house dust mites and pets.
What causes hayfever?
Often an inherited condition, the most common causes of hayfever are:
- Tree pollen (spring)
- Grass pollen (summer)
- Mugwort and hybrids such as chrysanthemums (autumn)
- House dust mites and mould fungus – particularly associated with perennial allergic rhinitis
- These microscopic substances get into your nose and cause your body to produce antibodies and release histamine. Histamine irritates the upper respiratory passages, making them swell and producing those typical hay fever symptoms.
What are the symptoms?
- Itchy and watery eyes
- Frequent sneezing and a bunged up or runny nose
- Itching on the roof of the mouth
- Wheezing or a burning sensation in the throat
What can I do to reduce the symptoms?
- Try using eye drops, nasal sprays and antihistamine tablets and syrups to treat symptoms
- Keep your windows closed – even at night. This is especially important in the early morning and evening when pollen tends to be at it’s highest
- You could try using a vacuum that has a HEPA filter
- Put a smear of Vaseline inside each of your nostrils to ease soreness and stop pollen in its tracks
- Try using the LloydsPharmacy Hay fever Reliever. It is drug-free, so you can use it alongside your usual allergy treatments
- Wear wraparound sunglasses to keep allergens out of your eyes
- Avoid drying clothes and bedding on your washing line when the pollen count’s high
- Keep car windows closed when you’re driving
- Try to avoid letting pets get close to your face as they can carry pollen in their fur