Hay fever: tips and tricks to relieve your hay fever symptoms as pollen levels rocket

Hay fever is one of the most common allergic conditions, affecting millions across the UK
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Hay fever sufferers around the UK could be in for a difficult time as experts warn about incoming high levels of pollen due to climate change.

“Many people are suffering from hay fever just now because the pollen count is high, thanks in part to climate change,” says Dr Nisa Aslam, GP from Typharm’s Skin Life Sciences Foundation. “Plus the pollen season is getting longer.”

The immune function plays an important role in an allergic reactions, she explains. “People who suffer from hay fever often have a family history of not just hay fever, but also skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis, which can often be borne out of problems with the immune system.”

The weather can also be a contributing factor in how badly you’re affected.

“Some hay fever sufferers may be experiencing a sudden spike in their symptoms a bit earlier than usual, this may be due to the recent prolonged wet and windy weather,” says Claire Nevinson, superintendent pharmacist at Boots.

“On a daily basis, rainfall tends to decrease pollen, but over a period of months, intermittent wet days tend to produce a more severe hay fever season overall.”

Here are some tips and tricks you need to know to keep your hay fever under control.

How can I relieve hay fever symptoms?

There is currently no cure for hay fever, but there are a number of remedies you can try to relieve symptoms when the pollen count is high.

The NHS website issues the following advice for avoiding the brunt of hay fever symptoms when the pollen count is high:

  • 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 special HEPA filter

You can also try taking antihistamine drops, tablets or nasal sprays to help with itchy and watery eyes, sneezing and a blocked nose.

How do I know if I have hay fever?

The NHS website lists the symptoms of hay fever as the following:

  • Sneezing and coughing
  • A runny or blocked nose
  • Itchy, red or watery eyes
  • Itchy throat, mouth, nose and ears
  • Loss of smell
  • Pain around your temples and forehead
  • Headache
  • Earache
  • Feeling tired

It also clarifies that these symptoms will last weeks or months, making it easier to differentiate between allergies and a common cold which only lasts a week or so.

Asthma sufferers may also experience a tight feeling in their chest, shortness of breath, wheezing and coughing.

Symptoms of hay fever can last for weeks or months, according to the NHS, unlike a cold which usually goes away after around one or two weeks.

How do symptoms differ to coronavirus?

Some people have mistakenly confused symptoms of hay fever for coronavirus, as there are a number of similarities.

However, while signs of hay fever include sneezing and a cough, much like coronavirus, the main difference is that it does not usually cause a high fever.

Hay fever sufferers also generally do not feel too unwell with it, unlike with coronavirus.

People who do suffer with hay fever are advised to compare their symptoms to what they have experienced in previous years if they are concerned.