When hayfever strikes, are there moments when you would try anything to get some relief?
If so, it might mean you’ve resorted to time-saving tips or short-cuts, known as ‘hacks’.
Maybe you’ve been stocking up on jars of your local honey to help ease your symptoms. Or you may have tried wearing a face mask in a bid to stop the pollen penetrating your nose?
It may come as a surprise to find that these ‘remedies’ are ‘old wives’ tales’ which will just leave you with a sweet tooth and an uneven face tan on top of your itchy eyes!
All hayfever sufferers have their own ways of trying to keep their condition in check. We surveyed 2,000 people in the UK with hayfever who shared their weird and wonderful survival strategies.
Have you tried any of these?
The impact of hayfever is not to be sniffed at. One in five people with hayfever admit it has a negative effect on their quality of life, affecting their social life, time spent with family, confidence, happiness and even their love lives!
“While antihistamines and allergy tablets are well-known medicines for hayfever, they aren’t suitable for everyone, particularly as some can cause side effects of drowsiness”, says Dr Emberlin.
If you know your hayfever is about to strike, there are some ways you can prevent symptoms in the first place.
“Some good alternatives include barrier balms for around the nostrils and certain nasal sprays which help block the passage of pollen into the airways,” says Dr Emberlin.
Hayfever hack for your eyes!
If you struggle from itchy or watery eyes, two of the most common symptoms of the condition, Opticrom Hayfever Eye Drops provide targeted relief.
Opticrom treats the source of the problem directly and gets to work in just two minutes, to help you see clearly again and go about your day. Plus, they can be used alongside antihistamine allergy tablets.
You might have heard that eating local honey can help you build up a tolerance to local pollen. But although it no doubt makes your morning oats taste amazing, Dr Emberlin says a daily dose won’t help hayfever.
Dr Emberlin says: “Because bees don’t pollinate grass and trees – the most common causes of hayfever – there is no reason why there would be any evidence to support this theory, and so far none has been found.”
Hayfever hack for your eyes!
“Regular hoovering, washing of your hair, skin and clothes, plus dusting and cleaning of surfaces with a damp cloth will help remove surface pollen,” says Dr Emberlin.
She explains: “The tiny airborne pollen particles that cause hayfever end up sticking to our clothes, being swept into our homes and inhaled by us.
“If you’re very sensitive to dust, or will be around lots of pollen, you could use a dust mask while doing chores as a safeguard.”
“The idea that flowers cause hayfever is probably one of the biggest misconceptions around the condition”, says Dr Emberlin.
“Seasonal hayfever is caused by wind-pollenated grasses, trees, weeds, plants and outdoor moulds, rather than insect-pollinated plants like flowers which have much heavier, stickier pollen.”
In fact, close to half of people with hayfever (41%) don’t know which pollen is the trigger, making it difficult to manage the condition because it feels unpredictable.
Dr Emberlin advises keeping a trigger diary to understand how and when your hayfever affects you, so you can identify which pollen to avoid.
Hayfever hack for your eyes!
Dr Emberlin explains: “Many alcoholic drinks, such as beer, contain histamine which is the same substance the body releases when you have an allergic reaction.
“So drinking can actually make hayfever worse, or even trigger an asthma attack.”
Dr Emberlin adds: “Some drinks, like white wine, contain sulphites which is a known allergen for some people.
“If you are going to indulge in an alcoholic beverage, clear spirits, such as gin, are lower in both sulphites and histamine, so a much better option if you suffer with hayfever or allergies.”
For a non-alcoholic option Dr Emberlin recommends drinking chamomile tea to help reduce inflammation.
She adds that “many people with hayfever try a variety of hacks to deal with their symptoms, but my top tip is to speak to your pharmacist as there’s a wide range of effective medications that can help manage symptoms when the pollen counts rise.”
Can you imagine having a troublesome cold with itchy eyes and runny-nose which lasts all summer? Hayfever can feel that bad, so try to treat affected friends and family with sympathy and patience! Chocolates instead of flowers as a present perhaps?
If you have a family member who suffers from hayfever, try to plan your summer activities with this in mind. Avoid visiting high pollen areas at certain times of the year or high exposure activities. Perhaps try the beach rather than a camping holiday this year, avoid visits to gardens in high summer or picnics in a grassy meadow.
Everyone’s hayfever is different and you should soon come to learn what times of year, weather and environment (meadows, trees etc) affect them. Check the pollen count on this website when you are planning an outing. The weather forecast may also give a pollen count summary.
It is hard to keep children indoors on a sunny day. Try planning some fun activities to do indoors for a while each day to help reduce their pollen exposure or consider the following:
Opticrom Hayfever Eye Drops are a hayfever remedy that can be used by children aged 6 and over and should quickly soothe their itchy eyes.
Make sure your child uses their hayfever medication regularly and as directed – help them to apply the drops or try our tips on applying Opticrom so they can apply them themselves under your supervision. Opticrom Hayfever Eye Drops should not be used continuously for more than 14 days without seeking medical advice.
If you think they are likely to suffer hayfever symptoms don’t forget to bring their Opticrom Hayfever Eye Drops on trips out or nights away. Keep a bottle in your handbag so it is close to hand when their hayfever symptoms start.
It is a good idea to let your child’s teacher know if they are a hayfever sufferer, especially if a trip or sports day is planned. Ask the school about their rules for medicines in school and arrange for your child to have access to their eye drops, under adult supervision, during the school day.
Do you suffer from hayfever, another allergy, both or neither?
Taking our quiz will only take a minute or two and will help you find out.
Question 1 of 4
Do you regularly suffer from any of the following:
Do the symptoms that you have described generally get better or worse when you spend time outside?
What time of year do you experience these symptoms?
Does close contact with a furry pet (like a dog, cat or hamster) seem to cause your symptoms or make them worse?