As the most common form of non-infectious rhinitis, hay fever affects 10-30% of adults and up to 40% of children. Health professionals are warning that with the coming temperatures over the next few days, combined with recent rainfall, plants and trees are set to release high levels of pollen.
Despite hay fever season typically starting in mid-March as tree pollen blooms from March until May, Spring has been postponed this year due to the late snow throughout March. This ultimately means that many plants and trees are set to release their pollen all at once rather than at their usual staggered blooming period, leading those who suffer from hay fever are to experience overwhelmingly high levels of pollen.
The main symptoms of hay fever include itchy eyes, coughing, sneezing and a blocked or runny nose. However, hay fever has also been shown to further affect those who also suffer from asthma as it is an asthma attack trigger. Studies show that of the six million Britons who endure hay fever, half of this number also have asthma.
Having an allergy to pollen causes your immune system to overreact and produce histamine, inducing the symptoms of hay fever. For those who suffer from asthma, the histamine release that they experience from hay fever makes asthma symptoms worse. As a symptom of hay fever is a blocked nose, leading to inhalation through the mouth, this can worsen respiratory symptoms of asthma. Those who have asthma who experience this can have symptoms including coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and tightness in the chest. This is a result of the air you breathe through your mouth being colder than the air you breathe through your nose, which can irritate the airways of most asthmatics.
For those who suffer from hay fever, here are some tips for surviving the high pollen count forecast for the next few days;
- Ensure that you change your clothing after you have been outside and before you enter your bedroom.
- Try to avoid grass areas such as parks or field, especially during the early evening as this is peak time for pollen to be at nose level.
- Wearing sunglass can protect your eyes from pollen and reduce irritated and itchy eyes.
- Avoid keeping your windows and doors open as this only lets pollen into the building.
- Keep it clean! Pollen is known for being sticky; by washing your hair, you can make sure that no remaining pollen is clinging to your hair. This also prevents the pollen from making its way onto your pillow.
For more information about hay fever, how and why it affects those who suffer from it, have a look at our blog that gives you the lowdown of hay fever. At FluCamp, we research viruses like the common cold and the influenza virus. Our belief is that the better we understand viruses, the more likely that we will be able to understand how they work – meaning that one day, we can eradicate them. To find out more about the work that we do contact us or learn more about our trials.