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The Hay Fever Survival Guide

I don’t know about all of you, but I suffer from hay fever these days.  I was lucky enough to avoid it for most of my life, then one day, I started sneezing after an outside run, and it’s bothered me ever since.

Believe me, there’s nothing safe about repeated sneezing your way home in the car when you’re driving, so I had to find ways of dealing with it on a day-to-day basis.  Mine started as exercise induced, but now it’s just your regular old hay fever.

We’re at the point in the year, where I have felt a few extra sinus headaches, and a more than a few sneezes, and it’s only going to get worse.

What Is Hay Fever?

Unfortunately for some of us, it starts with an itchy, runny nose, lots of sneezing and water eyes to go along with it.  Mine comes on suddenly, then stubbornly refuses to go away.  It’s very common in the UK, and it affects our lives in more way than we tend to think about.  I know I struggle to sleep and don’t work so well when my hay fever is at its peak.

Hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen.  It’s fairly simple, but there are different types, such pollen from grass, nettle rape seed, mould spores, hazel trees and more.  One, or a combination of these is what we’re allergic to.  Our bodies recognise that pollen as an alien threat and produces histamines which trigger sneezing, coughing, runny eyes etc, in a bid to get that pollen out of our bodies.  In effect, our bodies are doing us a favour, no matter how miserably we feel about it.

What Can We Do About It?

At first, my instinct was to try to ignore it, thinking I had just caught a cold.  When it didn’t tail off after a few days, I knew I had a longer issue to worry about.  Simple hacks to help ourselves can include.

  • Taking exercise earlier in the day and try to avoid evening jaunts outside, as pollen rises during the day, being higher in the evenings, before subsiding during the night.
  • Dry clothes and bedding indoors if you can, but if you have to hang them outside, take them in before evenings.
  • Consider using a saline nasal spray to wash out your nostrils after being outside.  Speak to your local pharmacist about it and anything else that might help.

See The Doc

I did end up having to see the doc.  I have chronic sinusitis, so having hay fever as well is just double summer misery.  I use a corticosteroid spray in the summer months, and I use an antihistamine all year round, to avoid the headaches.  Age seems to have something to do with it, as our immune systems start to need a little extra helping hand.   As with all allergies, you need to seek medical advice if any adverse symptoms begin to appear.

What Else?

I’m still unsure about alternative therapies, although may people swear by them.  I don’t know much about them, other than quercetin is said to help in a similar way to an anti inflammatory.  It’s worth checking out for yourself.  I’ve heard immunotherapy works in a similar way to a vaccine, where we’re given small doses, to help reduce symptoms

To find out more, visit the Allergy UK website, at


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