Summer 2018 is shaping up to live long in memory with what feels like endless sunshine and now there is even talk of a HEATWAVE to radiate across Ireland this week. However, excitement levels amongst the 376,000 people with asthma and who also have hayfever are at lowest levels, as pollen reaches its highest possible peaks – triggering debilitating hayfever symptoms and possibly serious escalations of their asthma.
Sarah O’Connor, CEO of the Asthma Society of Ireland, said:
“For those who suffer from hayfever, summer 2018 has left them feeling truly miserable, with pollen levels particularly high for weeks now. These unusual pollen counts are as a result of our prolonged cold winter and extended sunny and hot start to the summer. These conditions combined have meant that many plants had been delayed in flowering and then released their pollen all at once rather than at normal slower rate.”
“We are looking at a perfect storm this week – grass pollen levels generally reach their peak at the end of June and the coming week’s weather is only increasing that level. Already our pollen tracker shows pollen levels are at what we consider to be their highest over the weekend in some areas in Ireland and it is set to continue and to escalate. People really need to take care and manage their hayfever symptoms and for those who also have asthma, they really need to manage their health.”
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Help is on hand to manage hayfever from the Asthma Society of Ireland with their Pollen Tracker on asthma.ie. The tracker provides an update of pollen levels across the four provinces each day, and a predictor of the pollen levels for the following day, making it a daily must-see to manage hayfever and asthma throughout the summer. The information pack about allergic rhinitis (hayfever) is an invaluable piece of information for those who need to know more about managing hayfever and asthma and our gardening booklet is a huge help to anyone wanting to enjoy the outdoors this week.
“Our Pollen Tracker allows you to identify days when the pollen count will be high in your area, giving you up-to-date and essential information. In addition to that, the hayfever management materials on our site can put you in the driving seat to offset the annoying symptoms of hayfever and any potentially serious asthma attacks. While people can be quite passive about asthma and hayfever and sometimes accept feeling very unwell as their normal summer experience, some straightforward measures keep these health problems in control and keep people with asthma safe,” added Sarah O’Connor.
For asthmatics, hayfever can cause their asthma symptoms to flare up and may cause an asthma attack. An asthma attack is a medical emergency and can be fatal. One person dies a week in Ireland as a result of their asthma.
What is HAYFEVER?
When you have an allergy, your body reacts when you come in contact with a particular allergen or trigger. For people with hayfever or rhinitis, when they breathe in these allergens, their body has an immune response in the lining of the nose. This causes the nasal passages to become swollen and inflamed.
Common hayfever symptoms:
Runny nose and nasal congestion
Watery, itchy, red eyes
Itchy nose, roof of mouth or throat
Swollen blue coloured skin under the eyes
Help and support on managing your asthma and hayfever is available by calling our free nurse Adviceline on 1800 44 54 64.
Tips to Survive Hayfever Season:
Talk to doctor or pharmacist NOW about taking medication to prevent / reduce symptoms. Don’t wait until you feel unwell.
Keep an eye daily on our pollen trackeron ie
Keep windows closed in your bedroom at night
Keep windows and doors closed when the pollen count is high
Stay indoors as much as possible on high pollen days
Stay away from grassy areas, especially when grass is freshly cut
Put Vaseline around your nostrils to trap pollen
Wear wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen getting into your eyes
Shower, wash your hair and change your clothes if you have been outside for an extended period
Avoid drying clothes outdoors, or shake them outdoors before bringing them in
Minimise your contact with pets who have been outdoors and are likely to be carrying pollen
Consider a purifier with a built-in air quality sensor to remove allergens and pollutants from the air
About Asthma Attacks
Know the symptoms of an attack and know the 5 Step Rule to save a life – go to asthma.ie for more information on how to prevent and manage asthma attacks. The Asthma Society strongly recommends that asthmatics visit a health care professional if they have an asthma attack, as this indicates that their asthma is not controlled.
In June, July and August, you can win a Dyson Pure Cool air purifier by taking part in our simple competition.
1. Go to our Facebook or Twitter pages
2. Find our posts detailing our pollen forecast
3. Like and share these posts at least once a month to win!
One winner will be chosen at the end of each month. The lucky winner will receive a Dyson Pure Cool which removes 99.95% of allergens and pollutants from the air. For more information, go to dyson.ie.
About Pollen and Hayfever:
Symptoms occur mainly in spring and summer are usually triggered by pollen from grasses, weeds and trees. This is called seasonal rhinitis, and is commonly known as hayfever.
When problems occur all year, this is called perennial rhinitis, and they are usually triggered by house dust mite, animal dander or mould spores.
Hayfever is very common in Ireland and up to 80% of people who have asthma also have this condition. One in five Irish people have hayfever.
Both asthma and allergic rhinitis are caused by an allergic reaction and are related conditions linked by a common airway. Many of the same allergens are known to trigger asthma and allergic rhinitis.
If allergic rhinitis is treated effectively, it can help to reduce asthma symptoms and may even help prevent the development of asthma.
Asthma is an inflammatory disease of varying severity that affects the airways – the small tubes that carry the air in and out of the lungs. People with asthma have airways that are extra sensitive to substances (or triggers), which irritate them. Common triggers include cold and flu, cigarette smoke, exercise and allergic responses to pollen, furry or feathery animals or house-dust mites.
When the airways come into contact with an asthma trigger, the muscles around the walls of the airways tighten so that the airways become narrower. The lining of the airways swell and produce sticky mucus. As the airways narrow, it becomes difficult for the air to move in and out. That is why people with asthma wheeze and find breathing difficult.
Whilst there is no cure, asthma can be controlled by avoiding triggers and by the use of ‘reliever’ and ‘controller’ medication. Relievers are medicines that people with asthma take immediately when asthma symptoms appear. Controllers help calm the airways and stop them from being so sensitive. Talk to your GP or asthma nurse about which treatment is most suitable for you. All patients with asthma are also advised to have a tailored asthma action plan, a crucial part of patient self-management, which helps patients control their asthma.
5 Step Rule
Stay calm. Sit up straight – do not lie down.
Take slow steady breaths.
Take one puff of your reliever inhaler (usually blue) every minute.
Use a spacer if available.
People over 6 years can take up to 10 puffs in 10 minutes.
Children under 6 can take up to 6 puffs in 10 minutes.
Call 112 or 999 if your symptoms do not improve after 10 minutes.
Repeat step 3 if an ambulance has not arrived in 10 minutes.
Remember, if someone is having an asthma attack:
Do not leave them on their own.
Extra puffs of reliever inhaler (usually blue) are safe.