Spring is usually the worst time for hay fever sufferers, but you might struggle with a blocked nose and red eyes in Autumn, too. There’s a good reason for that: at the beginning of autumn, certain types of trees, grasses and fungi release pollen or spores.
What is hay fever?
Hay fever isn’t caused by hay, and it doesn’t give you a fever! It’s really an allergic reaction to tiny particles like pollen, dust or spores that can cause fits of sneezing and itchy eyes. So, if you find your nose running or itching around autumn, you could be having an allergic reaction to plants that flower during that season.
How do I get rid of the irritation?
So, how do you treat irritating symptoms such as itching eyes, nose, ears, palate, and throat, sneezing, and runny nose and eyes? Here are the most important weapons in your fight against hayfever:
- Antihistamines: Using antihistamines regularly right through pollen-time really works, especially if you start early in the season. This kind of medication can cause sleepiness (which is a problem during the day) but there are antihistamines that don’t knock you out. Talk to your pharmacist or doctor about which one is best for you. There are also antihistamine eye-drops!
- Nasal steroids: These are special nose sprays that unblock your nasal passages and keep them clear. They can be used right through the season, so talk to your pharmacist about which one would work for you.
- Decongestants: This medication is used only for a short time (less than 7 days) to get rid of the worst nasal blockage. If used for too long, it can make the situation worse, so stick to the instructions!
- At home: A simple saline (salt water) nasal spray can bring some relief, and a little Vaseline applied to the opening of your nostrils on cotton bud is soothing.
For the rest, try keep away from pollen by wearing wrap-around sunglasses, showering and changing your clothes when you’ve been out, staying inside at pollen peak-times like the early evening, and driving with your car windows closed.
Send us your tips on how to manage #SeasonalAllergies.
Joanne Hart for HelloDoctor.com