– One in five Irish people affected by hay fever
– Knowing the triggers and how to avoid them is essential
The arrival of warmer, summer weather is welcomed by all; however for the 20% of Irish people who suffer from hay fever the increased pollen count can severely affect their quality-of-life.
However, forearmed is forewarned and effective management of the condition can reduce the impact of hay fever.
Common symptoms of hay fever include:
- nasal congestion,
- a runny nose with clear mucus,
- itchy and redness to the nose and eyes
- weeping and watery eyes.
Hay fever is an allergic reaction to certain substances. It is caused when the body makes allergic antibodies to counter a substance, known as allergens, such as pollen, house dust mites, pets or moulds. In people sensitive to these allergens, exposure causes the release of chemicals in the nasal passages, eyes and airways, resulting in inflammation and irritation to the eyes, nose and throat.
Hay fever can severely affect people’s quality-of-life. Side effects include sleep disturbance and poor concentration and can interfere with work or school life.
For asthmatics, hay fever can significantly aggravate their condition and make their asthma more difficult to control.
However, according to Joanne Kissane, Superintendent Pharmacist of LloydsPharmacy Ireland, there are effective ways to avoid hay fever triggers and if hay fever strikes, to better manage the condition:
‘It’s a combination of knowing what are the everyday triggers that can cause hay fever and how to avoid them, and then if you are impacted by hay fever, ensuring that you get the right treatment to alleviate the symptoms.’
Joanne’s top tips include:
- Monitor pollen forecasts daily: especially during spring and summer seasons. Met Eireann’s pollen count forecast, as well as a range of others pollen measurers, are available online;
- Protect yourself during high pollen days: apply an effective allergen barrier around the edge of each nostril to trap or block pollens. Barriers are available in pharmacy such as balms or nasal spray. Vaseline can also act as an effective barrier too.
- Get someone else to mow your lawn: the main triggers of hay fever are tree and grass pollen. So if you are affected by hay fever, mowing the lawn is the one chore you need to avoid.
- Seek help from your pharmacist: the range of treatments available have increased hugely in recent years. Talk to your pharmacist about your symptoms and what options will work best for you. Once you choose the best treatment for you, make sure to continue the treatment for the prescribed time. Remember, you may need to take your treatment once or twice daily, so don’t quit halfway through.
- Start your treatment at the first sign of symptoms: Many people wait until their hay fever symptoms are quite severe before they seek help. To prevent and relieve your symptoms, it’s best to reach out to your local pharmacist at the first signs of pollen season. Starting your treatment early is important as it is the most effective way to ease and control your hay fever symptoms.