WITH hay fever season now in full swing, pollen allergy sufferers may have noticed they’ve developed a runny nose, itchy throat and perhaps even a cough.
And as pollen levels are still high this week – even though the sun has gone in – this could exacerbate the symptoms.
Around 13 million people in the UK have hay fever – with up to 30 per cent of all adults struggling with sleeping issues, brain fog and fatigue as a result.
But there are things you can do to prevent hay fever from totally ruining your life for the next few weeks.
To minimise the impact that pollen can have even hours after you’ve been exposed to it, you’ve got to make sure that you’re prepared.
Here, we've rounded up the best online hay fever treatments so you can ease your hay fever symptoms as much as possible…
1. Allergy Eye Mist
Many hay fever sufferers will get red, sore and itchy eyes when symptoms flare up.
But to there are a couple of ways to stop them streaming and soothe irritation.
You can try eye drops with antihistamine properties, available from most pharmacies, to reduce inflammation.
Just squeeze one or two drops into each eye four times a day.
If you hate the thought of drops, you could also consider an eye mist which works in the same way – just spray it once or twice onto closed eyelids to to three times a day.
Boots Allergy Eye Mist, 10ml, £9.99, is suitable for all types of contact lenses too.
2. Cetirizine Allergy & Hay Fever Tablets
It may seem obvious for anyone that an antihistamine will help, but it’s actually knowing when to take them that could make the difference.
For most hay fever sufferers, symptoms are worse around midday when pollen levels peak.
So taking the one-a-day anti-allergy tablets first thing in the morning will give you better protection.
But if you are someone who finds they make you drowsy then take it before bed.
Dr Sarah Jarvis, GP and clinical director of Patientaccess.com, told The Sun: “Part of the problem with hay fever is it depends on when your symptoms start, pollen counts tend to be higher during the day.
“So we normally say if you are going to go out, go out early in the morning or late in the evening as pollen counts tend to be lower then.”
Products containing Cetirizine work to combat allergies without making you feel tired.
Superdrug's pack of 30 tablets is great value for money, coming in at just £2.49.
3. Hay Fever Relief Nasal Spray
If you’re struggling with a blocked, itchy or runny nose, a steroid nasal spray might provide you with some extra relief.
They work by reducing the inflammation inside the nose.
It’s best to try and use them for a week or two before you think your symptoms will start as they can take a few days to work, according to NHS advice.
They also recommend that you keep using the spray, even if you’re feeling better as it only helps if you’re using it every day.
For over-the-counter relief you could try Boots Hayfever Relief Nasal Spray £4.59.
Just make sure you read the label beforehand.
4. Vaseline Petroleum Jelly
Dabbing a little bit of petroleum jelly around the edges of your nose works as a barrier to trap pollen before you breathe it in.
A standard tin of Vaseline will do the trick – just smear a small amount around the edge of your nostrils.
It also works under the eyes to prevent them getting runny and itchy too.
Top tips on how to prevent hay fever
Boots' Chief Pharmacist Marc Donovan shares his top tips on how to how to manage common hay fever symptoms so you can make the most of the warmer spring weather…
- Try applying Vaseline to the inside of your nose, it works as a barrier and can trap pollen before breathing it in.
- An allergy barrier nasal spray is great for deterring pollen too. To really feel the benefit, try using it for two weeks before your symptoms usually begin.
- When you’re in and out of the garden, wear wraparound sunglasses to help prevent pollen from getting in and irritating your eyes.
- After spending time outdoors, try and make time to have a shower to wash away any stray pollen on your hair and skin, and put all clothes straight in the wash.
- Avoid hanging your washing outside as the pollen in the air can cling to your clean clothes and linger on the materials.
- Keep your eye on the Met Office website daily so you can monitor the pollen forecast, you can now also opt in to receive handy push notifications via the app.
- Certain times of day have higher pollen levels, typically the first half of the morning and later in the afternoon and evening, so taking a one-a-day allergy relief tablet in the morning will help protect you when you need it most. Around midday is a time where pollen count is at its lowest, so take this opportunity to pop out to the garden for some fresh air and to perhaps eat lunch, this will also help you get a healthy dose of Vitamin D.
Just remember to reapply if you feel like you’ve rubbed it off.
There is no need to buy branded balms such as Holland & Barrett’s Haymax pure organic drug-free pollen barrier balm 5ml, £7.29.
Petroleum jelly such as Vaseline, at £2.99 for 50ml from Boots, does just the same job for only a fraction of the price.
5. The Eye Doctor Allergy Hay Fever Compress
Itchy eyes are the worst – so a cooling eye compress will help to reduce any puffiness and calm irritation.
The Eye Doctor Allergy Hay Fever Compress has thermal dynamic fabric, which uses regulated evaporation to cool more rapidly.
It helps to reduce puffiness, swelling, itching, inflammation and even headaches, and comes with an adjustable comfy strap.
You can buy it at Superdrug for £8.99.
If you need quick relief, try soaking a clean flannel in cold water and place over your eyes for ten minutes.
Have a go first thing in the morning, then when you come in from work and again before bed.
6. Throat Spray
If you suffer from a sore or scratchy throat a spray can help relieve your symptoms – fast.
Ultra Chloraseptic Anaesthetic Throat Spray contains the active ingredient benzocaine which belongs to the group of medicines called local anaesthetics.
It has a fast action and works by numbing the pain of a sore throat.
The spray has a swivel head applicator to help deliver the local anaesthetic direct to the throat.
You can buy Ultra Chloraseptic Anaesthetic Throat Spray for £5.50 from Amazon.
Last week, a top expert warned allergy sufferers not to confuse symptoms of hay fever for coronavirus.
And the urged people to learn the key differences, in order to keep yourself safe and rule out any unnecessary concerns.
Marc Donovan, Boots UK‘s Chief Pharmacist, said: “Hay fever symptoms are different to coronavirus.
“The most common symptoms of coronavirus are a high temperature and/or a new continuous cough.
“Sneezing is not a symptom of coronavirus and it’s rare to have a runny or stuffy nose.
“Hay fever doesn’t cause a high temperature and most people don’t feel unwell.
“Typical hay fever symptoms include sneezing, a runny or blocked nose, itchy red watery eyes or an itchy throat, mouth, nose and ears.”
The Royal College of GPs urged sufferers to consider whether their symptoms are the same as in previous years.
But it has also expressed concern that people may leave the house thinking they have just got the seasonal illness when they have actually contracted the deadly virus.
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