What is hayfever

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Information & Advice


What is hayfever?

Boots pharmacist Sonia Bassi talks you through hayfever, allergies, symptoms and tips

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What is hayfever?

Boots pharmacist Sonia Bassi talks you through hayfever, allergies, symptoms and tips

Troubled by hayfever? Take some tips from Boots pharmacist Sonia Bassi.

What is hayfever?

Allergies are a reaction of the immune system to a normally harmless substance in the environment. Hayfever is an allergic reaction some people experience to pollen.

"It's your body reacting to pollen as though it's a harmful substance," explains Sonia.

In the UK, between 20-25 percent of the population suffers from hayfever.

When do people get hayfever?

More than half of hayfever sufferers are affected at the height of the season – between May and July.

However, for some people, hayfever isn't just a problem during the summer months. "Some people actually suffer with the symptoms of hayfever all year round," says Sonia.

Allergies to pollen

There are different types of pollen and spores that people may be allergic to. The main ones are:

  • Spring often pollen from trees
  • Summer often pollen from flowers
  • Autumn often spores from fungi
  • "Different sufferers are susceptible to different types of pollen," says Sonia

On humid and windy days, pollen spreads easily. On rainy days, pollen may be cleared from the air, causing pollen levels to fall.

The pollen season can vary depending on where you live. In the UK, the pollen season usually starts earlier in the year in the south and lasts until later in the north.

Some hayfever products, such as cromoglycate eye drops, can help prevent symptoms if they are used for a few weeks before the hayfever season starts.

Hayfever symptoms and diagnosis

Symptoms of hayfever include:

  • Runny nose
  • Itchy eyes
  • Itchy throat
  • Congestion
  • Sneezing

Hayfever sufferers may not experience all of these symptoms, says Sonia.

If you experience these symptoms, you may wish to speak to your GP to diagnose hayfever. This is particularly important if you also have asthma because hay fever may make your symptoms worse.

Hayfever sufferers can also speak to a pharmacist who can advise them about products they may wish to consider.

Hayfever in children

For tips on hayfever in children, why not read this article?

Hayfever tips

If you suffer from hayfever, try to avoid the pollen," says Sonia. This can be very difficult to do. However, the following tips may help:

  • Try to stay indoors, as far as possible, with the windows closed. "The pollen count may be higher in the early morning and late afternoon and early evening," says Sonia
  • Wrap-around sunglasses may help prevent the pollen from getting in your eyes," says Sonia
  • Avoid grassy areas, such as parks and gardens, especially if the grass has recently been mown
  • If you're travelling, for example by car, make sure the windows are closed," says Sonia
  • If you've been outside in a grassy area, having a shower can help remove pollen from your hair," says Sonia. "If you have pets that like to go outside, wash them regularly because pollen can stay in their fur

Read more like this:

Hayfever Help for Toddlers and Young Children

Tips to help prevent hayfever

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Hayfever & allergy

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