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 ever tried...?
The impact of hayfever is not to be sniffed at. Almost 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!
To help you sift the hayfever myths from the facts, we asked leading pollen expert, Dr Jean Emberlin*, for her advice so you can enjoy warmer days without needing to forgo all the fun.
“While antihistamines are well-known medicines for hayfever, they are not the only option, particularly as some can cause side effect of drowsiness,” says Dr Emberlin.
If you know your hayfever is about to strike, there are some ways you can help to prevent symptoms occurring in the first place.
Dr Emberlin explains: “Some alternatives include nasal filters, which you wear in your nostrils, and cellulose nasal sprays, which can help protect the inside of the nose from pollen.”
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 eye symptoms directly and starts to work in just two minutes, to help you see clearly again and go about your day.
You may have heard that eating local honey can help you build up a tolerance to local pollen. Although it may make your morning oats taste amazing, Dr Emberlin says there is no evidence that a daily dose of local honey helps to alleviate hayfever.
Dr Emberlin says: “The main types of pollen that trigger hayfever are from wind pollinated grasses, trees (such as birch), weeds and outdoor moulds rather than insect pollinated ones. This means that bees don’t collect the types of pollen that most often trigger hayfever.
“Honey could help to keep you healthy generally but there is no reason why local honey would be of any specific help with hayfever,” she adds.
“Regular vacuum cleaning , washing your hair, skin and clothes, plus dusting and cleaning surfaces with a damp cloth will help remove pollen from surfaces. Plus, it will reduce your exposure to pollen allergens indoors so that you have a pollen free haven,” says Dr Emberlin.
She explains: “The airborne pollen that triggers hayfever symptoms sticks to our clothes and hair, so we carry it around with us. We bring it into our homes – adding to the pollen that has come in through doors and windows – and we end up inhaling it or getting it in our eyes unless it is cleaned away.”
“The idea that a flower display causes hayfever is probably one of the biggest misconceptions around the condition”, says Dr Emberlin.
“Hayfever is mainly triggered by pollen from wind-pollinated grasses, trees, weeds, and spores from outdoor moulds, rather than insect-pollinated plants like those with showy flowers which have much heavier, stickier pollen.”
In fact, close to half of people with hayfever (41%) don’t know which pollen is their trigger, making it difficult to manage the condition because it can feel unpredictable.
Dr Emberlin advises keeping a trigger diary to help you understand how and when your hayfever affects you. This can help you to identify which pollen types to avoid.
Although alcohol doesn’t cause hayfever, it can make it worse.
Dr Emberlin explains: “Many alcoholic drinks, such as wine, contain histamine which is the same substance the body releases when you have an allergic reaction.
Some research has suggested that drinking wine, in particular, could actually make nasal symptoms worse in hayfever cases.
She adds: “Many people with hayfever try a variety of hacks to deal with their symptoms, but my top tip is to speak to your pharmacist or GP as there is a wide range of effective medication that can help you to manage symptoms when the pollen counts rise.”
*Dr Jean Emberlin does not endorse any medicinal brands
To find out more useful tips about how to cope with your hayfever this summer, download our Pollen Alert skill on Amazon.
Find out more about Pollen Alert by Opticrom Hayfever.
When you’re not affected by hayfever yourself, it’s all too easy to brush it off. It seems to happen every year, so you friends and family who have it should be used to it by now, right?
Wrong! The severity of hayfever can vary considerably from year to year, dependent on the level of pollen in the air.
It can be so debilitating that your children or partner would rather stay inside on a glorious summer day to avoid itchy eyes, and non-stop sneezing triggered by pollen than go into the great outdoors. That can mean missing out on family barbecues, picnics and lots of fun.
Before you roll your eyes at your loved one’s latest hayfever gripe, spare a thought about how it feels and read on to find out how you can come to their rescue.
Hayfever is an allergy to pollen, and different types of pollen are released at different times of the year. This means everyone’s hayfever is different.
Find out whether birch pollen, grass pollen or another type causes hayfever in your family. You can then work out what time of the year symptoms are likely to hit. Use our hayfever calendar so you can be prepared to provide sorely-needed hayfever relief as soon as they feel the itch.
Peak hayfever season starts to pick up from February and carries right through to August (it can sometimes continue even later in the year). As the weather warms up, make it part of your daily routine to check the pollen count in your area so you can keep your children or partner prepared for the onset of irritating symptoms.
It’s a good idea to let teachers know your child has hayfever, especially if a school trip or sports day is planned. Ask about their rules for medicines in school and arrange for your child to have access to their eye drops or other hayfever medication, under adult supervision during the school day.
Keep a ‘hayfever survival kit’ on you and in your child’s school bag to give to the teacher so they have access to hayfever relief treatment whenever they need it. For those aged six and above, this could include hayfever eye drops to soothe itchy eyes, or antihistamine tablets to treat the general allergy, and tissues (in the event of a sneezing attack). Check with your pharmacist or GP to find out what is suitable for your child.
The kit will ensure you’re well equipped to cope with their hayfever at family barbeques or picnics you’re invited to. At these events, be sure to eat at a picnic bench or table, rather than in the grass, to limit exposure.
This kit is particularly important during exam time, which often coincides with peak hayfever season and can distract children from their best work. Hayfever can add an extra layer of stress to this already challenging time and may even impact results. If your child is already used to their condition being managed effectively with hayfever remedies, it can help to relieve exam pressure.
There’s no cure for hayfever but there is effective treatment available. Opticrom® Hayfever Eye Drops provide fast-acting relief, from itchy and red eyes. Just one to two drops in each eye when relief is needed (up to four times daily), starts to soothe hayfever eyes in just two minutes, so your child can get back to concentrating on their work.
When your child is young, you may need to apply the eye drops for them, but as they get older it’s important they learn how to do it themselves, so they can apply them throughout the day.
If your partner finds it tricky to apply eye drops themselves, give them a helping hand. You may find it useful to take a look at our guide to applying Opticrom Hayfever Eye Drops, which are suitable for children aged six and over. Always speak to a pharmacist or GP before giving Opticrom eye drops to young children.
It’s important to note that Opticrom Hayfever Eye Drops should not be used continuously for more than 14 days without seeking medical advice.
Whether your partner or your child is affected by hayfever, a family holiday to a grassy campsite during pollen season will leave them feeling anything but relaxed.
Consider swapping the campsite for one of our beautiful UK beaches at this time of year, as the pollen counts tend to be lower on the coast.
It can be impossible to keep children indoors when the sun is shining, especially in the school summer holidays. Try planning some fun activities to do indoors for a while each day to help reduce their pollen exposure or encourage them to play sports, like football, on a playground or artificial turf rather than a grassy field.
Swimming and other water activities are also a great way to indulge in adventure, without worrying about hayfever symptoms.
Find out more ways to cope with hayfever, so your family can enjoy every moment comfortably.
Applying eye drops can be a little tricky at first, especially if your hayfever or allergy has descended suddenly, leaving you struggling to see further than your eyelashes.
As long as you’ve got your Opticrom® eye drops at the ready you can begin soothing your itchy peepers with one to two drops in just a couple of minutes.
Use our step-by-step guide to master the technique with ease and, with practice, you’ll be able to do it with your eyes closed – metaphorically speaking!
Watch this tutorial on how to apply Opticrom Eye Drops
Always store your Opticrom eye drops out of the sight and reach of children.
Once you’ve washed your hands, remove the lid and check the dropper to ensure it’s clean and free from any fluff or dirt which could contaminate your eye.
To help the eye drop stay in your eye, it’s best to apply when your head is tilted back slightly.
With your head tilted back, place your index finger on the soft spot just below the bottom lid and gently pull down the skin so it comes away from the eye slightly to form a ‘pocket’.
With your other hand, hold the dropper tip down, as close as possible to your eye without touching it. It’s important that you don’t let the dropper tip touch any part of your eye to avoid infection.
As you’re looking up, gently squeeze the dropper so that one or two drops fall into the pocket. Then, slowly let go of your bottom lid. If this method hasn’t worked, you can try approaching your eye from the side so you can rest your hand on your face.
Close your eyes but try not to shut them tight or squeeze your eyelids together, as this may push the drops out of your eye.
Go through steps 1 to 5 again for your other eye. Once finished, wash your hands and replace the cap to keep it clean.
Opticrom Eye Drops start to work in just two minutes, to provide soothing relief from allergies and hayfever so you can see clearly again.
Do you have all the symptoms of an allergy, but no idea what’s causing it?
You’re not alone – almost half of those with hayfever don’t know which pollen triggers their allergy, which makes it unpredictable and difficult to manage.
Not sure if you’ve got hayfever? Take our quiz to find out what could be causing your allergies.
Do you regularly suffer from any of the following:
Do the symptoms you have described generally get better or worse when you spend time outside?
What time of year do you experience these symptoms?
Do your symptoms get worse when you are in close contact with a furry animal, such as a dog or cat?