Doctor Hilary on the difference between covid and hay fever
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Indeed, data from the Kleenex Pollen Forecast shows that tree pollen levels will spike across the country this weekend. This is partially due to the expected sunny spell. This may mean people with hayfever experience symptoms such as runny noses, sore eyes and sneezing fits this bank holiday weekend.
Amena Warner, Head of Clinical Services at Allergy UK has shared her top tips to help hay fever sufferers manage their symptoms and feel better prepared.
First, she suggests that people consider their wardrobe choices, and choose accessories like hats and wrap-around sunglasses that can stop pollen from reaching the face, hair and eyes.
She adds that people should consider using an allergen barrier balm. She says: “Some allergy sufferers find that applying an allergen barrier balm around the base of the nostrils and around sunglasses creates a barrier to airborne allergens.”
She also suggests that people shower when they return home, as pollen can stay on your skin and hair after you’ve been outside.
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Jin Zhang, Global Medical Director at Kleenex UK, noted how unpleasant hay fever can be and how severe symptoms can prevent pollen sufferers from enjoying the warmer weather the season brings.
Jin Zhang notes: “We know that many families travel over the Easter weekend to spend time with loved ones.
“New surroundings can act as a trigger to allergy symptoms due to potential exposure to different pollens.”
Dr Rhianna McClymont lead GP at digital healthcare provider, Livi, has also shared tips on how to spot the signs and manage the symptoms.
She explains: “Hay fever is a type of allergic rhinitis – irritation and inflammation mainly in the nose and eyes as a response to something that triggers the immune system.
“In the case of hay fever, it’s an allergy to pollen in the air – tree pollen, grass pollen, and other plants can cause problems.
“When we have an allergic reaction, our body naturally releases chemicals called histamines as part of a natural protective response. Sometimes when we’re exposed to an allergen, like pollen, our body’s response is excessive and makes us feel unwell.
“Some people are more susceptible to these kinds of allergic response than others – this seems to be down to a combination of lifestyle, genetic and environmental factors.”
The doctor says: “Hay fever can make you feel quite unwell and can mimic the symptoms of other related allergies.”
- Some of the most common signs of hay fever include:
- Runny nose
- Swollen, red and sore eyes
- A sore throat
- Feeling very tired and generally unwell
- Poor sleep
“Some people also find that they get headaches and earaches, and hay fever can even affect your sense of taste and smell,” she said.
She said one way to manage symptoms is opting for indoor drying, as this can help reduce the risk of contamination.
Dr Rhianna explained hanging laundry on the line will increase the amount of pollen you’re exposed to.
She added some people use over-the-counter treatments, and you should take notice of which days are likely to be worse than others.
She said: “Dry, windy days when the pollen count is high are particular culprits for causing hay fever, and you can take antihistamines in advance. You can usually find the pollen forecast on the weather report.”
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