Watch out! Watch out! Hay fever’s about!
Tuesday, April 17, 2018, 10:16 - It’s the time of year that so many of us dread; hay-fever season! The arrival of warmer, sunnier weather is always a double edged sword for those who suffer from this somewhat understated condition.
The cool and damp of recent weeks has meant that spring has been delayed somewhat. However, the changing weather of the coming days will put an end to the lull that hay-fever sufferers have so far enjoyed.
No doubt you have noticed the swelling buds on trees which are now ready to burst open, in fact that is exactly what the warmth and sunshine this week is going to allow to happen.
Most trees are producing pollen right now with Willow, Ash, Poplar and Birch all about to reach the peak of their pollen release season. Because of the lateness of the season and the sudden arrival of the warm weather it is likely that this year we’ll see a sudden peak in pollen levels as these trees race to release most pollen over the coming weeks.
And just as these trees start to reduced their pollen release, grass pollen will be kicking in.
I know, it’s not great news is it, but forewarned is forearmed.
As the remnants of cloud clear from northern and western areas on Wednesday, many areas will be seeing plenty of sunshine and light to moderate winds. Temperatures are going to be rising too, perhaps over 25C in central and eastern England on Thursday and Friday. The combination of these conditions are perfect for pollen release.
The NHS state that 1 in 4 people in the UK are likely to experience hay-fever at some time in their lives. The most common months for experiencing hay-fever are June and July. It can range from a very mild irritation to a more severe attack which can lead to wheeziness and a very uncomfortable itching of the eye and runny nose.
So, what can you do to alleviate those uncomfortable hay fever symptoms?
The NHS recommends that for most people it’s sufficient to take sensible precautions against the influence of pollen as the pollen count rises. Suggestions include:
- Wearing wrap-around sunglasses so that pollen doesn’t get in your eyes.
- Putting Vaseline around your nostrils to trap pollen
- Shower and change your clothes after you have been outside so that pollen gets washed off
- Keep windows and doors shut as much as possible
- Make sure the pollen filter in your car works
But what about medication? Dr. Glenis Scadding, Consultant Allergist at the Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital suggests that over the counter antihistamine work for most people but that you should not use those which can cause drowsiness as even if you don’t feel tires such antihistamine can impair your ability to drive or operate machinery.
Illustration depicting inflammation associated with allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever. Courtesy: Wikipedia Creative Commons
She recommends nasal sprays but says that you should start taking these at least a couple of weeks before symptoms start.
Hay fever was virtually unheard of about 100-years ago but has now become increasingly common and this trend is likely to continue.
For now then, it’s a case of staying in touch with the weather forecast, taking preventative measure as necessary and being sensible when exposing oneself to the causes of the condition. This precautions should at least allow hay fever sufferers to enjoy the fine weather ahead.