The ‘allergy season’ used to be pegged between May to August, but increasing numbers of allergy sufferers are finding little relief through the late summer and autumn months as more varieties and species of plants, grasses, trees and weeds are cultivated.
More than 10 million people in the UK suffer from hay fever and millions more are allergic to dust mites, pet hairs and other airborne allergens.
About one in every five will eventually develop a resistance and find that their symptoms will subside over time and more or less disappear..
For others, however, their allergies are a constant source of discomfort and misery.
Here are seven practical suggestions to reduce your exposure, some or all of which you may already know but if we can help anyone out there find some relief, it’s worth a try.
Wear wraparound sunglasses when you’re outdoors, particularly on days when the pollen count is high. You may look like a wannabe rock star and self-styled world ambassador for peace, but you will at least find some protection from eye irritation.
As soon as you get indoors change your clothes and have a shower. Pollen and other allergens cling to clothing and skin. If you don’t remove them they will stay with you for the rest of the day. Shower just before bedtime too to help get a peaceful night.
The sinuses become inflamed when allergen are breathed in through the nose, a dab of Vaseline around the nostrils will act as a filter and trap them before they travel into the nasal cavity. It’s not the most pleasant experience but it will help.
Dust and vacuum the surfaces of your home as frequently as possible. It’s an old wives tale that this will disturb the dust and make matters worse. Keep your windows closed and the hoover will remove a surprising amount of potential irritants, though you should wear a dust mask while you are cleaning. Better still, get someone else in the family to do it for you.
The best possible environment for allergy sufferers is hardwood or tiled floors. Carpets and rugs are like magnets for dust mites and pollen, but if you can’t get rid of the carpets at least free yourself from rugs or throws on furniture. Let’s not get started on tapestries…
Try to avoid drying clothes and bedding on an outdoor clothesline. Pollen and other allergen will stick to the fabric and end up being brought into the house and into your closet and bedroom. You might try the old fashioned method of using a clothes horse. It will take longer and may not feel so fresh but it may stop your eyes stinging and your nose running.
The weather report through most media will forecast pollen levels for the next few days and there are plenty of apps you could download to give yourself plenty of warning. Take any prescribed medication on those days before your start experiencing serious symptoms, they are designed to prevent as well as alleviate the effects of allergies.
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