Guest Author - Asha Sahni
Hay fever is a common problem in England throughout the spring and summer months. Whilst sometimes identified easily in children it can also develop later in life. Visitors to the country may find they react to pollens which they are not exposed to in their own country.
Whilst there are a range of medicines on the market to treat hay fever, from antihistamines to homeopathic remedies, there are also a few other steps people can take to reduce symptoms. Although none may create miracles, they can be useful to experiment with to see if any work for you, your children or other people you know who have hay fever.
Changing clothes when you get home and putting the clothes you have been wearing outside in a tied up or sealed bag can help ensure you dont transfer pollen into your house.
Chamomile, eucalyptus and tea tree oil essential oils can be good for hay fever. Put a few drops on a handkerchief or in your bath. Create a steam bath by filling a large bowl or basin with boiling water and adding a couple of drops of an essential oil; breathe in the oil scented steam as the water cools.
One of the main symptoms of hay fever is itchy, painful eyes. Some people use eyedrops available through doctors on prescription or over the counter at chemists. Other remedies that may help include:
Bathing your eyes in water (some people use distilled water) using an eyebath
Putting slices of cool cucumber over your eyes and letting them rest for several minutes
Splashing your eyes with water and palming your eyes (ie cupping your eyes in the palms of your hands) afterwards.
Avoiding dairy products can help prevent the build-up of mucus that is a common hay fever symptom. Some people also believe chamomile infusion, garlic and Vitamin C can be good aids in combating hay fever.
Washing your hair at night rather than in the morning helps get rid of any pollen you have gathered in your hair throughout the day and helps prevent distribution of pollen on your pillows and bedclothes.
Hay fever sufferers can react to different pollens, hence why people may get symptoms at different times. In England the hay fever season can stretch from March to August, with the earliest pollens coming from trees such as ash, birch, elm, oak and willow. Grass pollination tends to be worse in the summer months. People who identify which pollens they react to can start to predict (roughly for each year can be different) when their hay fever symptoms are likely to be at their height. It can be worth keeping a diary of symptoms (and places you may find being in a different place exposes you to a new pollen) to help identify which pollens activate your hay fever.
Keeping windows closed can help reduce the level of pollen drifting into your house or office. Alternatively keep windows open and draw curtains to reduce the amount of pollen entering a room.
If you do start getting hay fever symptoms do seek medical advice. The above are suggestions for things you can do yourself, some of which may give you relief from symptoms.