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Cleaning tips for hay fever sufferers

Over the last couple of weeks, Britain’s basked in a spell of pleasant weather and the forecast’s looking good for the weeks ahead too. Unfortunately, there’s an unpleasant reality that comes with this warm, dry weather – it’s hay fever season. From blocked sinuses and itchy eyes, to incessant sneezing and a persistent, tickly cough, hay fever can ruin the most idyllic summer’s day.

If you’re a fellow sufferer, you might prefer to stay in to protect yourself from these horrid symptoms – missing the lovely weather and fun with friends and family. The good news is, with a few sensible precautions, there’s no need confine yourself until autumn leaves start to fall.

Spring and summer are peak seasons for hay fever sufferers.

Read our tips for enjoying the outdoors while minimising the frustrating symptoms of hay fever.

In the home

  • Get into the habit of regularly vacuuming carpets and soft furnishings that can trap pollen;
  • To prevent airborne pollen entering the home, keep windows and doors shut wherever practical;
  • Wipe window and door panes and sills thoroughly after being open to remove pollen particles;
  • Wiping surfaces and shelves down regularly with a damp cloth will reduce the amount of pollen in the home;
  • Purchase an air filter to capture organic particles; it will not only reduce the amount of pollen in your home, it will remove the dust, skin and hair particles that worsen hay fever symptoms too;
  • Purchase an allergy reliever device to suppress the most irritating of hay fever symptoms. Certain brands claim that so-called ‘red light therapy’ modifies the cells that release histamine to relieve symptoms. However, it’s an unproven scientific field, so beware!
  • Been out and about? Take a shower when you get home. It will wash away any pollen lingering on your skin and hair, and you’ll avoid transferring it onto the bed sheets, too.

In the garden

  • Purchase a dust mask to wear when gardening. Pottering about will be more pleasant and you’ll be able to mow the lawn in relative comfort too;
  • If your garden doubles as a social space, consider using materials other than grass in it. Grass pollen is one of the worst hay fever irritants, with up to 95% of sufferers attributing their symptoms to it. Why not install decking or artificial grass, or cultivate a chamomile lawn instead?
  • If you like variety, opt for plants with impressive foliage, like ferns or conifers. They look beautiful but do not flower, and keep your garden’s pollen count low;
  • Surround a seating area with bamboo or erect a pergola and plant with grape or black-eyed Susan vines. Bamboo will block the entry of airborne pollen while the vines are naturally low in pollen;
  • A water feature can also stop your garden feeling stuffy and dry.

Look after yourself

  • There isn’t any scientific evidence to support it but many people swear by eating a spoonful of local honey. It could be that locally-produced honey desensitises the consumer to the effects of the pollen around them;
  • Avoid getting pollen in your eyes, nose or mouth by putting a barrier between you and it. Wear sunglasses, and dab petroleum jelly or menthol rub around your nostrils and top lip to stop pollen in its tracks;
  • Did you know beer, wine and and spirits all contain histamine? Any hay fever sufferer knows histamine triggers allergic reactions. If you enjoy a drink alfresco, consider switching to gin, vodka or rum which contain lower levels of histamine;
  • A balanced diet equips your body with the vitamins and minerals it needs to protect and boost your immune system. Keep it in tip-top condition during the summer months by eating plenty of fruits, vegetables and salads to keep hay fever side effects at bay.

Our tips won’t cure hay fever but they may help manage your condition. If your symptoms persist and over-the-counter medications don’t relieve them, consult your doctor immediately.

Hay fever sufferers have as much right to enjoy summer as the rest of us.

Image courtesy of: ‘Sneeze’ by Tina Franklin via Flickr, 2014.

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