If you are looking to prevent hay fever symptoms we first have to understand the multiple causes. Seasonal allergic rhinitis, more commonly known as hayfever, is known to affect sufferers throughout the spring and summer months. Mostly between May and August when grass pollen levels are at their highest. Symptoms can include a runny or blocked nose, sneezing and itching inside or around the nose.
But, what many don’t realise, is other airborne allergens such as tree pollens, weeds, moulds – and more – can cause the same symptoms. This can extend the hay fever season from as early as February through to October!
We’ve taken a look at which locations or situations you should try to avoid throughout the seasons and some alternative ways to ease the discomfort hay fever can cause.
What to be aware of throughout each season
During the spring season, April to May, pollen is known to trigger allergic rhinitis (hay fever) symptoms in sufferers for around four to six weeks.
It can be released from a variety of sources. For example, trees from the Birch family release a high pollen count during this time, especially on warm, dry days. And even a hint of a mild breeze can carry the pollen from the trees over a wide area! Many flowers will start to bloom in spring also, causing additional exposure risks.
Tip: Check the pollen count each day and wear sunglasses when counts are high. And choose low-allergen plants and flowers for inside the house or your garden.
The summer season is when most hay fever sufferers report their worst symptoms. Grass pollen replaces tree pollen as the prime culprit, usually between early May and mid-August. Nettle pollen is typically released in July, and other weed pollens are more common in August.
Mould spores from harvesting are also released during the late summer months.
So, the summer is a good time to check pollen counts regularly! ‘Pollen count’ is the measurement of the number of grains of pollen found in each cubic metre of air. You’ll hear it referred to on weather forecasts and the higher the number, the more likely it is you’ll be looking to take preventative measures if you suffer from hay fever!
Tip: Minimise pollen entering the house by keeping windows and doors closed in the early morning and evening. And, shower or bathe before you go to bed so it’s not transferred to your bed linen.
Moulds that can cause allergic rhinitis are plentiful during the autumn season. Especially when moisture builds up.
Try to maintain an even temperature in the house; and some airflow to reduce humidity and minimise levels of mould and dust mites. Also check for excessive moisture or signs of damp. Both will trigger reactions because moisture levels affect the number of mould spores and dust mites in the home. Humidity levels should be kept to a minimum to reduce the possibility of triggering symptoms.
Because mould and fungal spores are often invisible to the naked eye, they can’t always be avoided. However, keeping a record of when your symptoms are at their worst, and where you are when this happens will enable you to eliminate those risks.
Tip: Keep internal doors shut when cooking or showering to reduce moisture passing through the house.
Dust mites and mould are triggers for allergic rhinitis during the winter months. But so too are the pollens from hazel, willow and alder trees from February to March.
And if you prefer to use an artificial Christmas tree, wipe it down with a damp cloth before decorating as dust may have gathered during storage. Don’t forget the tree ornaments too!
Tip: Candles create soot which can trigger allergic rhinitis. So use the unscented variety and use a damp cloth to extinguish the flame, minimising further soot emission.
To ease your suffering we have compiled 6 tips to prevent hay fever?
Although there are many effective over the counter remedies for allergic rhinitis, some prefer a holistic, natural approach. So below are some of our favourites.
We can’t guarantee they’ll prevent or cure your hay fever, but they could, at the very least ease the symptoms.
Digest plenty of Vitamin C
Vitamin C can come in many forms. Citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons and limes can be eaten, squeezed for their juices; and even used in cooking. Or, you can grab an array of over the counter supplements – from tablets to drinks.
The reason they work to combat or prevent hay fever is they’re packed full of bioflavonoids – which have strong anti-allergy effects. They also work as antihistamines too.
Spice it up
If you’re feeling a little ‘bunged up’ spices can work wonders. The anti-inflammatory properties in certain spices, like ginger and turmeric, help prevent the release of histamine, one of the leading causes of hay fever.
If you’re feeling brave you could also nibble on a chilli!
Or just indulge in a delicious hot curry. Have plenty of tissues on hand ☺
Wear cucumber patches
Placing fridge-cold slices of cucumber over your eyelids helps to soothe tired, itchy and swollen eyes. It works because cucumber stimulates antioxidant activity and the juice soothes the itching and reduces any swelling.
Totally worth the few minutes of looking a little scary!
Flavonoids are an excellent anti-inflammatory agent and are found in abundance in Chamomile. Although the best approach is to drink as tea, you can also make a cold compress to place over your eyes. Why not do both? Drink the tea but leave a little to go cold, then soak a couple of cotton pads before relaxing with them over your eyes.
This will be a ‘blast from the past’ for many – but some may not even remember it! Vaseline, a brand of petroleum jelly had many uses. And still does, in fact. From nappy rash to burns and cuts; through to lip scrubs and creating a youthful glow on your cheeks.
It can be an effective remedy for hay fever suffers too. By dabbing a little beneath your nostrils a barrier is created, reducing the risk of pollens entering.
Choose a high-quality, ozone-free portable air ionizer such as the IonBox. One of the most effective systems to prevent hay fever and assist with allergy relief.
They work by creating a safe space in your home, wherever you want that to be. Because by choosing a portable air purifier, you can also use in whichever room you need it most – depending on the season and the requirement: dust removal; mould removal or as an air cleaner. You can even use it in your car!
And, in conjunction with other preventative measures they can reduce the symptoms of allergies.
The ideal choice is an air ionizer one that doesn’t produce ozone as not only is overexposure to ozone harmful and can, in some cases, trigger allergic rhinitis and asthma; it is also detrimental to the environment.
For more information on the IonBox contact us now, we would be delighted to help!