Hayfever season: how to be prepared

This year it seems like spring has taken a particularly long time coming. But if you have hayfever, the beginning of the season may also mark the start of symptoms such as sneezing, itching, a runny nose, blocked sinuses and itchy, watery eyes.

Hayfever is a common allergic condition. Taking steps to manage your symptoms earlier rather than later, however, could make a huge difference.

Be aware of your triggers There are several different types of pollen released at different times throughout the spring and summer, and you may be allergic to some but hopefully not all of them. If you know which type of pollen you react to, it can help you to be better prepared when the time comes.

For instance, if you are allergic to tree pollen, your symptoms may start early in the spring and last until mid-May. Meanwhile grass pollen is released from around mid-May to July and weed pollen from the end of June to September.

If you know when your symptoms start and end, as it can be a good indication of the type of pollen you’re allergic to, not to mention when your symptoms are likely start this year.

Watch the pollen forecast Keeping an eye on the weather – and particularly the pollen forecast – can help you pinpoint when your symptoms may be more severe than usual. For instance, the pollen count is usually higher on warmer, dry days rather than when it’s cooler and rainy. Taking extra precautions when the pollen count is high – such as staying indoors as much as possible, for instance – may help reduce your symptoms.

Make your home a pollen-free zone Knowing when your hayfever symptoms are likely to start can also help you prepare your home and reduce the amount of pollen that may find its way inside. This includes keeping your windows and doors shut as much as possible whenever the pollen count is high, and vacuuming and dusting regularly with a damp cloth (if possible, use a vacuum cleaner with a special HEPA filter). Also try not to dry freshly-washed clothes outside, as they can attract pollen.

Stock up on pharmacy relief For those times when you can’t avoid going out and coming into contact with pollen, there are several over-the-counter allergy medicines that may make your symptoms easier to live with. Your local Careway pharmacist can offer lots of advice on which remedies may suit you best, including one or more of the following:

  • Antihistamines – usually effective at treating itching, sneezing and watery eyes
  • Sodium cromoglicate eye drops – widely used for eye allergy symptoms
  • Steroid nasal sprays and drops – may help prevent nasal symptoms including a blocked nose
  • Nasal saline washes – drug-free sprays and drops that may help relieve nasal congestion

Ask your pharmacist to explain the best way to use your allergy relief medicines, including whether or not you should start taking them a few weeks before your symptoms are about to start (this may help keep your symptoms under control more effectively).

Find your nearest Careway pharmacy by using our Pharmacy Finder.