How to stop sneezing and sniffling this spring

By November 17, 2016Allergies

“Bless you!”

ARRRRGH! Hay fever is annoying. If the endless sneezing, stuffy nose and scratchy throat are getting the better of you, here’s what you can do.

1. What causes allergy and hay-fever symptoms?

  • It’s an immune system response.
  • When the body is exposed to an allergen (such as pollen, mould, house-dust mite, pet dander etc.) it sees the allergen as something foreign.
  • The body responds by producing anti-bodies to the “foreign substance”.
  • The immune system becomes sensitised and overreacts – a substance called histamine is released, causing blood vessels to open/dilate leading to congestion.

2. How can you prevent it?

Hay fever is an allergic reaction caused by something known as a trigger. Stay away from triggers by doing the following:

  • Keep windows closed, stay indoors at midday and during the afternoon, keep air-conditioners on re-circulate
  • Avoid fans that circulate allergens
  • Wear wrap-around sunglasses when outdoors,
  • Remove outdoor clothing before coming indoors (pollen may be present on clothing)
  • Shower and rinse/wash one’s hair after coming indoors
  • Keep pets off beds and preferably, outdoors
  • Vacuum the house with a good quality vacuum cleaner to limit exposure to house-dust mite
  • Consider tiled floors, limit carpets and rugs
  • Limit soft-toy exposure and wash them regularly
  • Attend to damp problems in the home to reduce mould.

If you have an allergy to pollen, here are some useful prevention tips:

  • Wear wrap-around sunglasses to stop pollen getting in your eyes when you are outdoors
  • Change your clothes and take a shower after being outdoors, to remove any pollen on your body and in your hair
  • Stay indoors as much as possible when the pollen count is high (over 50)
  • Shave! Yes, guys, pollen can actually collect in your moustache, making your allergies much worse.
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3. How can you treat it?

Allergy medication are much more effective if started early, preferably about 2 weeks before the season starts. Even if you don’t have symptoms, it’s a good idea to use saline nasal spray to rinse out your sinuses twice daily. So, for your artillery against the sneeze, use:

  • anti-histamine tablets
  • eye drops
  • cortisone nasal sprays
  • saline nasal irrigation