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Living With Hay Fever

Updated on August 22, 2018
ethel smith profile image

With a keen interest in British politics this writer is never afraid to share her opinion

I love all of these but my allergies don’t

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My garden looks inviting but not some daysThank-you flowers from a friend were beautiful but problematicA late birthday gift looks good but....Saltburn-by-Sea has some wonderful surrounding countryside but full of pollen!Those flowers againRobin Hood’s Bay cafe in almost tropical setting. Another problem place for me at timesPeonies in my garden are beautiful but sneeze inducing
My garden looks inviting but not some days
My garden looks inviting but not some days
Thank-you flowers from a friend were beautiful but problematic
Thank-you flowers from a friend were beautiful but problematic
A late birthday gift looks good but....
A late birthday gift looks good but....
Saltburn-by-Sea has some wonderful surrounding countryside but full of pollen!
Saltburn-by-Sea has some wonderful surrounding countryside but full of pollen!
Those flowers again
Those flowers again
Robin Hood’s Bay cafe in almost tropical setting. Another problem place for me at times
Robin Hood’s Bay cafe in almost tropical setting. Another problem place for me at times
Peonies in my garden are beautiful but sneeze inducing
Peonies in my garden are beautiful but sneeze inducing

What is Hay-fever or Allergic Rhinitis?

In some people the body’s immune system cannot cope with allergens and pollen in the air and it overreacts.

This manifests itself in a few ways notably sneezing, nasal congestion, a runny nose, itchy, red and sore eyes with swelling around them, headaches and a stuffy nose.

You may feel as if you have a cold with a raised temperature.

Your concentration will be affected if you are experiencing a particularly bad episode.

it can be anything from a pain to debilitating to the extent that it interferes with your life and work.

For some this allergic reaction is seasonal but for others it is a year round struggle.

These days there are various treatments available, some over-the-counter but others only available on prescription from your doctor.

Finding the treatment that works you and eases your hay-fever symptoms may be trial and error.

Living with Hay-fever

As a child it was a case of we all sneeze together.

Well almost.

My mother, my brother and I all suffered from hay-fever. Mine seemed to start when I was aged around 10 or 11. By the time i was aged 16 and sitting school examinations during the summer-time my hay-fever was running amok.

I remember trying not to disturb others but also trying to concentrate on the job in hand as I sneezed and snuffled my way through the test papers.

This was back in the mid 1960s and there were fewer treatments available.

Since then it was been a lifelong battle with hay-fever.

Some years have been better than others and there was a time it seemed my hay-fever was settling down.

This year in the United Kingdom it has been dreadful for hay-fever sufferers, myself included

This week there are warnings of a pollen bomb which is set to hit the U.K. and three-weeks of hay-fever hell is forecast.

Ongoing, decades long thyroid problems may have impacted on my hay-fever journey but increased pollution has not helped.

There are more and more people experiencing hay-fever and some are older people who are affected for the first time in their lives.

This year my hay-fever has been difficult to control even on our recent vacation to Menorca, in the Balearics. Usually I am fine when visiting this Spanish Island..

Useful advice from the N.H.S.

Treatments available and tried

If you are an hay-fever sufferer you cannot cure it but you can treat the symptoms.

Here are some tried and tested treatments-

  • Medication either over-the-counter or via a doctor and on prescription. Finding the best medication for you can be tricky. Some medication can make you drowsy and may not suit you. Don’t give up if the first medication you try does not work for you. Stick with it and try another. Ask your pharmacist for advice on the latest and best medication around
  • There are also a few different types of medication available via health shops. If you hate taking any type of drug pop down to your local health shop and see what is available
  • Even if you take a pill which eases your symptoms you may still have some. Anti-hay-fever eye drops work well for many sufferers. Red, itchy and painful eyes can disrupt your daily life so controlling this symptom matters. For me post cataract surgery I need to keep my running eyes symptoms at bay. If not, my eyes which have lens implants, are very painful and I run the risk of infections
  • Vaseline. Good basic old-fashioned Vaseline may help more than you imagine. Yes it eases sore skin around your nose but also bung a decent amount up both nostrils to beat pollen and allergens
  • Brand name nasal sprays can help. Some hay-fever sufferers find they do not need to take medication but just use a nasal spray regularly
  • Decongestants. A good decongestant nasal spray or tablet may help ease your symptoms. Much as your nose may stream your sinuses could feel very full and blocked. This can be very problematic at night. It may cause you and or your partner to toss and turn at night as sleep eludes you. I say your partner as it can also make you snore if you do get some sleep
  • Headache medication. At times when my hay-fever is running riot I get thumping headaches. A straight-forward tablet such as aspirin or paracetamol will do the trick
  • Wear sunglasses that are a snug fit especially at the sides
  • Avoid certain places
  • Keep windows and doors closed when necessary

Take care with medication.

If in doubt consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Make sure nothing you take for allergic rhinitis will interfere with your regular medication.

The advice given above is from a hay-fever sufferer and not a person who is medically trained.

Additional treatments

  • Many years ago my doctor gave me an injection aimed at controlling my hay-fever. What followed was a period of ill-heath which may or may not have been related. It could have been coincidental
  • If your hay-fever is getting worse have a chat with your doctor to see what may be available. Sometimes it is as simple as changing your medication if you have taken it for many years
  • There are claims that self-hypnosis and or hypnotherapy can help you manage your symptoms
  • Do you know what you are allergic to? A hay-fever diary could help you identify hay-fever triggers and make lifestyle changes accordingly
  • In some cases a doctor will refer you to an immunologist who will carry out tests to identify your hay-fever triggers. For some people it is dust, for others tree pollen and for others a mixture of many things. Remember there are many, many types of grass for example and you could be allergic to just one
  • Buy a pollen and allergen extractor for your home. These are pricey but may be worth it. We are considering this purchase at this time
  • The smell of cut grass triggers my hay-fever. We have opted to ditch our lawns and settle for stones instead

What about you?

Do you suffer from Hay-fever?

See results

What works for you?

How do you treat your Hay-fever?

See results

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