Hay fever is usually most disruptive between late March and September so summer can be a trying period for allergy sufferers. Hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis, is a group of symptoms affecting the nose. Seasonal hay fever tends to develop when the body’s immune system overreacts to pollens from grass, trees and weeds.
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The symptoms can range from mild to moderate, depending on different factors such as the level of exposure and whether you have underlying health conditions.
According to the NHS, symptoms of hay fever include:
- 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
- Feeling tired
How to treat hay fever
There’s currently no cure for hay fever and you cannot prevent it.
But, as the NHS points out, you can do things to ease your symptoms when the pollen count is high.
Evidence suggests there are a number of natural remedies that can help to relieve hay fever symptoms.
One promising remedy is butterbur extract, which is derived from the Petasites hybridus, a marsh plant that has long been used for its medicinal purposes.
Studies have found taking the extract in oil or pill form to be an effective remedy for nasal allergies.
In one study published in the journal Clinical and experimental allergy, people with allergies that were given butterbur tablets for a week showed significant improvement of their allergy symptoms.
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After five days of treatment, the participants’ bodies contained smaller amounts of the allergy-producing substances leukotriene and histamines.
What’s more, research published in the journal Neurology, has found butterbur to provide relief for migraines, another symptom associated with nasal allergies.
Other ways to relieve hay fever symptoms
According to the NHS, there are a number of simple self-help tips you can follow to alleviate symptoms.
The health body says:
- Put Vaseline around your nostrils to trap pollen
- Wear wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen getting into your eyes
- Whower 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
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The health body also recommends avoiding activities known to aggravate symptoms.
- Cutting grass or walk on grass
- Spending too much time outside
- Keeping fresh flowers in the house
- Smoking or being around smoke – it makes your symptoms worse
- Drying clothes outside – they can catch pollen
- Letting pets into the house if possible – they can carry pollen indoors
If the problem still persists, you may GP may prescribe you steroids.
As the NHS explains, if steroids and other hay fever treatments do not work, your GP may refer you for immunotherapy.
“This means you’ll be given small amounts of pollen as an injection or tablet to slowly build up your immunity to pollen,” explains the health site.
Although, this kind of treatment usually starts in the winter about three months before the hay fever season begins, notes the health body.
Alternatively, a pharmacist can give advice and suggest the best treatments, like antihistamine drops, tablets or nasal sprays, it adds.
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