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Keep on top of hay fever this summer

Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is offering expert guidance for hay fever sufferers on how to cope during the summer.

One in five people in the UK are affected by hayfever – which causes itchy, red and watery eyes, blocked and runny nose, itchy throat and palate, wheeze and even difficulty in sleeping.

These are the five best ways to control hay fever:

  • Take antihistamines. Starting to take them now so they get into your system will really be of benefit. If you’ve any questions, remember the pharmacist can help you decide which are best for you, particularly if you’re already on medication.
  • Wear wraparound sunglasses. They protect eyes from pollen.
  • Take a shower, and change clothes after being outdoors all to stop spreading pollen around the home.
  • Keep an eye on the weather forecast to be prepared.
  • Use a small amount of petroleum jelly in the nose to help trap pollen grains.

The charity Allergy UK estimates that nearly 18 million people have hay fever in the UK. It's most common in children, particularly teenagers, but people can develop hay fever at any age.

As with most allergies, the best way to control hay fever is to avoid the triggers. But it's difficult to avoid pollen, particularly during the summer. Even straightforward hay fever can be debilitating, causing runny eyes, sleepless nights, a bunged-up nose and headaches.

A range of over-the-counter products can treat the symptoms of hay fever, including tablets, nasal sprays and eye drops. Antihistamines are the usual treatment for the main symptoms, such as itchy, watery eyes and a runny nose, while steroid nasal sprays are the main treatment for a stuffy nose. Your pharmacist can help advise you on which treatment is best for you.

Avoiding pollen whenever you can is always the best way to avoid hay fever misery, and keeping windows shut between 5pm and 10am is one of the most effective ways to keep symptoms at bay.

Further information about hay fever can be found at http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Hay-fever/Pages/Introduction.aspx.