Most of us wait for spring with eager anticipation but for a hayfever sufferer, there’s less excitement. That’s all because of pollen which, for someone with hayfever, the body over-reacts to. In this instance the immune system regards pollen as dangerous and so does everything it can to prevent it from harming the body.
We can blame the increased production of histamine on problems like inflammation, skin irritation, swelling and itching. It is produced by the immune system and helps get rid of allergens by widening blood vessels and pushing blood towards the surface of the skin. However, tissues can also become swollen and so this can lead to nasal congestion because the amount of air able to flow through the nose is restricted.
At this time the mucous membranes also begin to increase production of mucus in order to wash out irritants and trap foreign particles. This system works well if the body is in danger but when it’s just a passing pollen particle your body is reacting to, it is understandably frustrating!
Other symptoms of hayfever include sneezing, coughing, congestion and streaming eyes and once again, these are all just part of your body’s defence system.
So, with plants constantly releasing their pollen during the spring and summer months, a hayfever sufferer’s biggest enemy is out in force. As a result of this, it’s clear to see why they might not be thrilled at the prospect of entering the brighter, warmer months.
Entering and Exiting
With pollen circulating the air outdoors, it is important that you take care to watch what comes and goes from your home. Don’t worry though, as there are a few easy ways you can do this!
- SHOES - When you’ve been outdoors, take your shoes off before re-entering the house and don’t bring them inside. Therefore, if you’ve picked up any pollen on your soles whilst out, you won’t then tread it around the house and worsen your symptoms.
- JACKET - Take your jacket off and give it a shake before coming back inside. This will help to leave pollen outside where it belongs rather than bringing it indoors where it can intensify your symptoms.
- CLOTHING - If possible, change and wash your clothes as soon as you return inside. Once again this will prevent the spread of any pollen that may have attached itself to your clothes whilst out.
The average person spends a third of their life asleep so, with all that time in bed, it’s extremely important to be able to take control of your hayfever there.1 For that reason, here are a few tips on how to go about just that!
- ALLERGY PROOF - To help your hayfever it is worth trying allergy-proof bedding or, as it is sometimes known, mite-proof bedding. This helps to keep allergens out so that you can get the best sleep possible.
- WASHING HAIR - During the day pollen can easily attach itself to your hair without you knowing, especially if your hair is long. Therefore, it’s a good idea to wash your hair before going to bed to get rid of any. If you don’t it will transfer to your pillow and irritate your hayfever symptoms.
- WASHING SHEETS - If you have hayfever you should try to wash your bedding regularly to get rid of any pollen that may have become attached. However, even if you don’t change all of your sheets, all of the time, it’s a good idea to at least change your pillows twice a week to ease your symptoms at night.
Pollen can easily become attached to pets whilst roaming gardens and parks during the spring and summer months. Then, when they return inside, this pollen can easily spread as they make their way from the food bowl, to their basket, to your extremely comfy pillow! You’ll only realise the pollen is there however, when you go to bed and your symptoms worsen.
No one wants to restrict their pet to the garden just because it’s hayfever season so don’t worry, I won’t suggest that! However, there are a few things you can do to prevent your pets from making your hayfever symptoms worse.
- BEDROOM RESTRICTIONS - Every animal lover enjoys lying in bed having a cuddle with their cat or their dog. However, unfortunately during hayfever season this is something that is best avoided. As mentioned, pets can easily catch pollen in their fur whilst outside and by letting them on your bed, it will soon transfer there. So, I’d advise keeping your bedroom door shut to all pets during the warmer months. Remember – this includes when you are out as pets, especially cats, will only sneak in otherwise!
- BLANKETS - It’s a good idea to use throws for your sofa and chairs during hayfever season. Therefore, if pets sit on them, the pollen gets transferred onto the cover rather than directly onto the chair where it would be more difficult to get rid of. After all, a cover can be thrown directly into the washing machine and a chair cannot!
- BATHING - On days where the pollen count is high, I’d advise that you wash your pet after it has been outside. Also, if possible it’s best to do this before it comes into the house to prevent the pollen from transferring indoors. Nevertheless, I appreciate that you can’t exactly to this every time your pet goes outside so brushing them or giving them a wipe with a damp cloth would work well too!
Housekeeping can be an important part of keeping your hayfever symptoms in check. From dusting to vacuuming, there are various ways you can do this.
- VACUUM - Using the vacuum cleaner regularly helps to catch any pollen that may have found its way into your home (despite all the measures listed above). Aim to do this regularly for the best chance of easing your hayfever symptoms. Also, when you come to empty your vacuum cleaner I’d advise you wear a mask and do this outside, otherwise this is the perfect opportunity for pollen to worsen your symptoms!
- DUSTING – This is also key to improving hayfever but stay clear of regular feather dusters as rather than trapping dust, this just moves it to another area. A damp cloth works much better!
- WASHING – In order to contain the spread of pollen inside your home, it’s best to dry your washing indoors. This stops it from collecting pollen whilst hanging out on the washing line.
Plants and Flowers
Ok, this one might seem a little obvious so I’ll keep it short! Fresh flowers are a no-go for anyone with hayfever for obvious reasons – it’ll only make your symptoms worse! If you’d like a little bit of colour to decorate your home with, then artificial flowers will work just as well. Remember though – keep that damp cloth handy to prevent them from gathering dust!
Unsurprisingly, cigarette smoke will only make the symptoms of hayfever worse. It irritates the lining of the nose, eyes, throat and airways – all of which will already be suffering when it’s hayfever season.
- GIVING UP - Therefore, if you’re coughing and sneezing endlessly during the warmer months, this may be the motivation you need to give up smoking. It might not get rid of your hayfever but it will certainly improve your symptoms.
- VISITORS – If you don’t smoke but your friends and family do, for the sake of your hayfever, don’t be afraid to ask them to do it outside. After all, it’s you that has to deal with bad hayfever and not them!
In the warmer months it can be tempting to throw open all the windows and doors to bring in the fresh air but, you’ve guessed it, this will not do your hayfever any favours! Instead it will only bring pollen into the house and make sneezing, congestion and watery eyes worse.
- OPENING AND CLOSING WINDOWS - The solution would be to keep your windows shut but this is hard when the air around you is humid. So, if you do want to let some air in, open the windows in the evening or at night when the amount of pollen in the air will be lower.
- DE-HUMIDIFIER – It may also be worth investing in a de-humidifier for your home. This reduces humidity levels to make the environment less suitable for allergens. This system also helps prevent mould which could worsen the symptoms of hayfever.
It is really important to keep track of the pollen count in your local area in order to prevent hayfever from impacting upon your day-to-day life. When counts are high you’ll know to avoid spending too much time outdoors. Equally, when counts are low this will be an ideal opportunity to get out and about. Our website provides a very detailed pollen count for most cities and towns in the UK.
A Helping Hand
Even with these measures in place, hayfever can still be problematic so if you’d like some herbal help, I’ve got you covered!
If hayfever is getting you down, I’d recommend you try Pollinosan. This product comes in various forms including the Pollinosan Luffa Nasal Spray and Pollinosan Hayfever Tablets. These non-drowsy remedies are fast-acting and effective.
The tablets contain seven tropical herbs to help treat hayfever, and allergies to things like fur and dust. In turn, this can help symptoms such as watery eyes, sneezing, congestion and a tickly throat.
The Nasal Spray is a good option too as it cleanses the nasal passages of pollen and other allergens to leave you feeling more comfortable. This soothing product works by rinsing the nose of allergens and restores fluid and moisture there.
With all these measures in place, you and your home will be ready for hayfever season!