We’ve had the big freeze, now for the big sneeze!
Hayfever has become increasingly more common and at present Britain has one of the highest rates of hayfever in the world, with about 15 million people (around a quarter of the UK population) being affected.
Year after year, sufferers often dread summer, when rising pollen levels can lead to months of misery because of uncomfortable hayfever symptoms which affect their day to day lives. According to a recent survey by Opticrom Hayfever Eye Drops, nearly 50 per cent of hayfever sufferers avoid having flowers in their home and over a third avoid spending time in their own garden when pollen counts are high.
Hayfever can also have more of a serious impact on people’s lives, with one in 10 hayfever sufferers admitting their symptoms affect their ability to drive and nearly a third of sufferers finding it a challenge to get a good night’s sleep.
According to a new report by leading pollen expert Dr Jean Emberlin, the number of hayfever sufferers in the UK is set to more than double to 31.8 million by 2030 and will rise by a third to 20 million sufferers in just two years’ time. According to the report, which was commissioned by Opticrom, Britain is set to see a dramatic rise in the number of people suffering from hayfever, with more severe symptoms, due to the effects of climate change causing longer and more potent pollen seasons.
Hayfever is caused by the body’s allergic reaction to pollen, mould or fungal spores causing painful and irritating symptoms such as itchy, sore and watery eyes, alongside a runny nose, sneezing and blocked sinuses.
Within the UK there are three main types of pollen through the hayfever season, which can trigger a variety of annoying symptoms for sufferers at different times of the year.
- Tree pollen:- March to mid-May
- Grass pollen:- Mid May to July
- Weed Pollen:- End of June to September
There are many ways to treat hayfever, from over the counter medication to natural remedies. A few of the readily available treatments include antihistamines, eye drops, nasal sprays and a range of natural remedies. A few samples are below and different things work for different people. If hayfever is severe though, always consult your doctor as specific tests can now be done to identify individual triggers.
Phenergan can be bought over the counter and can be used to treat hayfever. The active ingredient is promethazine1, an antihistamine which treats allergies by blocking the body’s response to the chemical histamine which is produced when the body is under attack from allergens (foreign substances). Phenergan is available in tablets and elixir.
Eye drops can bring fast-acting relief to start soothing and relieving redness, itchiness and irritation and work in slightly different ways. In the new Opticrom Hayfever Eye Drops, for instance, the active ingredient sodium cromoglicate helps stop the body releasing chemicals in the eyes which cause the symptoms of hayfever in the eyes. www.opticrom.co.uk has more specific information about eye drops for hayfever.
Like eye drops, there is a range of nasal sprays to help alleviate hayfever symptoms. Nasacort Allergy Nasal Spray delivers triamcinolone acetonide straight into the affected areas and stops the symptoms of sneezing, itchiness and a runny nose. It works by stopping the immune response to pollen in the nose and because on use it thickens and sticks to the tissues within the nose, it stays in the right place to alleviate the symptoms. It also has a thixotropic action - complex medical term but it means it reduces the likelihood of produced moisture running down the back of the throat. www.nasacort.co.uk has more information.
Care Allergy Defence is a powder spray that reacts with the moisture within the nose to create an invisible thin, protective gel barrier which blocks allergens like pollen from entering the nasal tract. This stops the body’s defence system from releasing histamine so symptoms such as a runny nose and itchy eyes can often be avoided altogether.
More information at www.boots.com.
There are many natural remedies now available, from home made recipes to a range of brand products. Kate Butler, Holland and Barrett’s nutritionist, says that their range of Quercetin and Vitamin C capsules are particularly effective. Quercetin belongs to a class of water-soluble plant pigments called flavonoids which nay help to lessen the release of histamine and help ease the sneezing symptoms of hayfever. Vitamin C provides natural immune support. www.hollandandbarrett.com
As well as warding off vampires and keeping ghouls at bay, garlic acts as a natural antihistamine, anti-inflammatory, antiviral and decongestant and can help reduce inflammation and excess catarrh. Capsules can be taken each day with food to help reduce hayfever symptoms.
More information at www.hollandandbarrett.com
The principle behind bee pollen is de-sensitisation. Hay fever is caused by pollen flying through the air and into your nose and eyes. So if you add bee pollen into your daily diet, you expose yourself to a very small amount of pollen. You need a heavy-grained variety that doesn't cause immediate allergic problems but gentle exposure everyday will gradually de-sensitise allergic reactions to pollen. It is really best to start your regime before the pollen season begins. Comvita Bee Pollen is collected by the honeybees from the forests and pastures of New Zealand, carefully dried and processed to ensure there is no damage or oxidation of the vital nutrients. They are sweet and can be sprinkled on cakes and cereals. www.comvita.co.uk
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