Who’s affected

Hay fever is a common allergic condition that affects up to 10 million people in England, according to the NHS. The number of sufferers is expected to rise to 30 million by 2035 due to an increase in air pollution and pollen counts soaring.

Research found that hay fever usually begins in childhood or during the teenage year, and it’s more common in boys than girls.  In fact, you can get hay fever at any age. Studies show that a lot of adults will develop this allergy in their 30s, 40s and 50s.  Half a million new “middle-aged” cases are predicted in the next decade, according to the National Pollen and Aerobiology Research Unit.  Therefore, everyone can develop hay fever in life.

If you have a family history of allergies, particular asthma or eczema, you are more likely to suffer hay fever.

How’s affected

Hay fever doesn’t be a serious threat to your health, but it can affect your quality of life.

Pollen is a fine powder released by plant during their reproductive cycle.  As pollen contains proteins that triggers your body an allergic reaction, causes your immune system produces histamine into your blood stream, to protect your body against infection. This histamine causes the nose, eyes, throat and airways to become swollen, irritated and inflamed.

Different types of pollen are released throughout the year in England.

Birch: Second week of March to first week of June (peaks last week of March to mid-May).

Plane: Mid-March to mid-May (peaks last week of April to second week in May).

Oilseed rape: Last week in March to mid-July (peaks mid-May to end of June).

Oak: First week of April to mid-June (peaks end of April to first week in June).

Grass: First week of May to second week of September (peaks first week in June to last week in July).

Nettle: Beginning of May to end of September (peaks last week of June to first week in August).

Mould: Early autumn and late spring. Symptoms are worse inside than outside.

If you suffer allergies all year round, you may allergic to dust, especially notable in winter when the central heating is turned on. Symptoms are worse indoors.

Here is the pollen forecast by Met Office which is up to 5-day ahead.

What’s solution

There’s no cure for hay fever, but most people can relieve symptoms with treatment, at least to a certain extent.

You can relieve symptoms by taking “antihistamines”, which can help to prevent an allergic reaction from occurring and “corticosteroids”, which help to reduce inflammation and swelling.

However, new research has concluded that people regularly taking popular drugs for hay fever and other allergies, did worse in cognitive tests and showed signs of loss of brain cells and connections. Therefore, it suggested there may be a link to dementia.

The most effective way to control hay fever would be to avoid exposure to pollen.  You may prefer to take home remedies and boost our immune system.

Home remedies

  • Close doors and windows during pollen season.
  • Don’t hang laundry outside — pollen can stick to sheets and towels.
  • Use an allergy-grade filter in your home ventilation system and change it regularly.
  • Avoid outdoor activity in the early morning, when pollen counts are highest.
  • Stay indoors on dry, windy days.
  • Use a dehumidifier to reduce indoor humidity and mould.
  • Avoid mowing the lawn or raking leaves.
  • Wear a dust mask when cleaning house or gardening.
  • Use allergy-proof covers on mattresses, box springs and pillows.
  • Wash sheets and blankets in water heated to at least 130 F (54 C).
  • Vacuum carpets weekly with a vacuum cleaner equipped with a small-particle or HEPA filter.
  • Spray insecticide designed to kill dust mites (acaricides) and approved for indoor use on carpets, furniture and bedding.
  • Consider removing carpeting, especially where you sleep, if you’re highly sensitive to dust mites.
  • Wear wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen getting in your eyes.
  • Take a shower and changing clothes after being outdoor to remove the pollen on your body and hair.
  • Apply a small amount of Vaseline to the nasal openings to trap pollen grains.

Strengthen Immune System

Vitamins

Take Vitamin C which is another form of antihistamine’

Take Vitamin E which is an immune booster as well as an antioxidant, so protects you from free radicals like pollution.

Honey

Honey can desensitise your body to other pollens and reduce hay fever symptoms.

Carotenoids

This naturally occurring pigment can be found in foods such as carrots, apricots, pumpkin, sweet potato and spinach and acts as a powerful antioxidant to help reduce inflammation and fortify your immune system.

Fish

Omega fatty acids contained in fish are important for a healthy immune system. The first phase of an immune reaction is an inflammatory reaction – and fish oil is an anti-inflammatory. Not only that, it’s a great booster for your immune system.

Nuts

A great source of magnesium and Vitamin E.  Magnesium helps increase lung function and may protect against wheezing.  Vitamin E is an immune booster and an antioxidant.

Apples, Oranges, Berries and Grapes

Natural source of Vitamin C and antioxidants which reduces inflammation in the body and protects against allergy symptoms.

Do you suffer from hay fever? Tell us your hay fever experiences.