Pollen levels are rising as the temperatures across the UK increase, but this may bring an increase in symptoms of hay fever those who suffer with the condition.
Hay fever is typically known for causing symptoms such as watery eyes and runny noses, but can it also cause sore throats and a cough?
Here’s what you need to know.
What is hay fever?
Hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen and usually occurs when it comes into contact with your mouth, nose, eyes and throat.
Hay fever season typically starts at the end of March until the end of September, with various pollen stirring allergies at different times throughout the summer.
Tree pollen occurs first, typically from late March to mid-May. Grass pollen then usually lasts from mid-May until July, with weed pollen covering the end of June to September.
However, the Met Office explains that depending on where you live in the UK, the hay fever season will start at different times.
“For example, there’s a later start and shorter season in the north of the UK, where generally there is less pollen,” said the Met Office.
Can hay fever cause a cough and sore throat?
Hay fever can cause coughing, and if you have asthma - which also makes you more likely to develop hay fever - you might also have a tight feeling in your chest, be short of breath and suffer with a wheeze.
As pollen levels rise, you may also find that you’re suffering from an itchy throat, which is another symptom of hay fever and can also cause an itchy mouth, nose and ears.
What are the other symptoms?
According to the NHS, symptoms of hay fever also include:
-a runny or blocked nose
-itchy, red or watery eyes
-loss of smell
-pain around your temples and forehead
- feeling tired
How can I treat my hay fever symptoms?
Although there’s no cure or prevention for hay fever, you can do things to ease your symptoms when the pollen count is high.
The NHS suggests the following:
- put Vaseline around your nostrils to trap pollen
- wear wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen getting into your eyes
- shower and change your clothes after you have been outside to wash pollen off
- stay indoors whenever possible
- keep windows and doors shut as much as possible
- vacuum regularly and dust with a damp cloth
- buy a pollen filter for the air vents in your car and a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter
You can also speak to your pharmacist if you’re suffering with hay fever symptoms. They can give advice and suggest the best treatments to help with your symptoms, such as antihistamine drops, tablets or nasal sprays.
Your GP may also prescribe you a steroid treatment, then if this doesn’t work your GP may refer you for immunotherapy.
There are also things you can avoid doing to prevent making hay fever symptoms worse including:
- not cutting grass or walking on grass
- not spending too much time outside
- not keeping fresh flowers in the house
- not smoking or being around smoke – it makes your symptoms worse
- not drying clothes outside – they can catch pollen
- not letting pets into the house if possible – they can carry pollen indoors