Tips for dealing with hay fever, according to experts

While most of us welcome warmer, sunnier days, it can be a different story for hay fever sufferers.

Particularly considering that hay fever is expected to be even worse this year, because we’ve all been cooped inside for so long with various lockdowns.

But it’s not just going outside, staying inside during hay fever season can be difficult, too, as pollen particles can enter through open windows and doors and attach themselves to various household items.

So, if you’re looking for some easy ways to help manage your hay fever over the coming months – we’ve rounded up some tips from experts to help you along.

Limit your exposure

It’s only natural to want to be out in the sunshine when the weather picks up, but it could be an idea to limit your outdoor exposure when pollen is at its highest.

Just like how you might avoid the midday sun, when UV is at its highest.

Alastair Lockwood, a health specialist and ophthalmologist at Feel Good Contacts, says: ‘It’s worth remembering that the pollen count is typically higher earlier in the morning and in the evenings during spring and summer time. If possible, try to leave the house outside of these times.

‘And if you are staying in, it’s a good idea to keep the windows closed to prevent pollen from getting in.

‘The Met Office can tell you what the pollen count is in your area that day, so it’s worth checking this before you venture out.’

Change your clothing

It might sound simple, but a quick change of clothes may help relieve hay fever symptoms once you get home. 

Alastair adds: ‘Change your clothes after coming in from outside during hay fever season, as the fabric will have undoubtedly picked up bits of pollen while you were out.

‘It’s also a good idea to keep your shoes stored away and as close to the door as possible, to prevent pollen being spread throughout the house.’

Wash once you get home

‘As well as on clothing, pollen can quite easily gather on your skin while you’re out of the house,’ adds Alistair. 

Be sure to wash your hands and face when you get in to prevent further irritation – you could even have a shower to be sure all the pollen is off you.

Pick daily contact lenses over monthlies

If you wear monthly or fortnightly contact lenses during hay fever season, it might be worth speaking with your optician to see if you can switch to daily lenses.

Alistair says: ‘By replacing the lenses daily, you’ll guarantee that you’ll be applying pollen-free lenses.

‘However, if you would rather stick with your monthlies or two weeklies, just take extra care to thoroughly clean and store them overnight in contact lens solution to get rid of any tiny bits of pollen that may have accumulated.’

Don’t forget your mask

We’ve all been wearing our masks over the past year – but the unlikely accessory could actually come in handy for hay fever, too.

‘Wearing a mask when you need to go outside for any length of time is a good tactic for preventing hay fever symptoms,’ says Hussain Abdeh, clinical director and superintendent pharmacist at Medicine Direct.

‘This is especially useful if you need to perform any tasks outside, such as gardening. Wearing a mask that covers both your nose and mouth will act as a barrier and stop particles from being inhaled or swallowed.’

Try natural remedies

Medical herbalist Euan MacLennan recommends trying natural allergy remedies for relief from symptoms – such as ginger and turmeric. 

He explains that histamine is by nature inflammatory, so adding plenty of anti-inflammatory spices into your diet could be helpful in alleviating nasal swelling.

He says: ‘Turmeric, otherwise known as “the golden goddess” in India, is great for hay fever and cold-like symptoms.

‘Turmeric’s most powerful active compound is curcumin, which studies have shown to be beneficial for alleviating symptoms such as sneezing and congestions, it was also found to improve nasal airflow.

‘Combining turmeric and ginger is a specific remedy for allergic rhinitis, hay fever and colds.’

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