Hayfever affects sufferers year-round, but especially between May and August when pollen counts are at their highest. Other airborne allergens such as tree pollens and grass can trigger reactions, making hayfever season a virtually year-long problem. If you’re one of the unlucky ones who struggle with hayfever symptoms, this guide will highlight the effects of pollen throughout the year and how to avoid them as much as possible throughout the seasons.
Pollen is at its highest in Spring, triggering a lot of allergic reactions in those who are susceptible. Birch trees, in particular, are one of the most common triggers, along with alder and hazel trees. In fact, pollen from birch trees accounts for around a quarter of all hayfever symptoms and the season can last for around four weeks. When coupled with the pollen from budding flowers, it’s a peak allergy season for so many and one of the worst times of the year in terms of the reactions you could have.
In order to avoid having to deal with horrible reactions every day, it’s a good idea to invest in an antihistamine, such as Fexofenadine tablets, which can calm the reactions down and make it easy to cope each day. You should also check the pollen count on days when you’ll be heading outdoors. Keep windows and doors shut as much as you can on days where pollen counts are high and use a damp cloth to clean so that dust and pollen in the home sticks to it rather than just being dispersed into the air. During the spring, it’s also a good idea to regularly wash bedding on a hot cycle and to shower and change clothes on days when you’ve been outside.
Summer can also be a problematic time for allergy sufferers, as the warm weather means we’re outdoors more, either socialising or exercising, which puts us in a prime position for pollen and allergy triggers. Around 90% of hayfever sufferers are triggered by grass pollen, so this can be a difficulty during the warmer days. But there are precautions you can take to help yourself. Make sure that you change your clothing as soon as you get back home, so you’re not dragging pollen into the house, and shower to get rid of any spores which are clinging to your hair or skin.
It’s also important to vacuum regularly, with a vacuum that has a HEPA filter if possible, to remove pet dander, dust, pollen spores and mould from your property. Keep shoes at the front door, rather than wearing them in the home, so that you’re not treading pollen in too. Wraparound sunglasses are also a good idea to protect your eyes from airborne allergens which can irritate your eyes.
Autumn may be the time of the year when the leaves start falling and plants and flowers begin to retreat in readiness for the winter, but if you struggle with hayfever, it can still be a time to remain cautious. Mould from the damp weather can increase the risk of airborne mould spores, and these fungal spores can be found indoors and outdoors in forests, gardens or woodland areas. Mould can be difficult to see sometimes, which makes it harder to avoid, but a good rule of thumb is to use a dehumidifier during this season to remove excess moisture from the air and to keep your garden clear from fallen leaves or plant debris, so that it’s not a trigger for you. If you compost in your garden, opt for a closed container and keep it as far away from your home as possible.
In winter, pollen will be at its lowest, but it can still be found from the likes of hazel, willow and alder trees. Christmas trees can also be a trigger, even if you don’t own one yourself, as you’re more likely to be visiting others who may have a real tree in their homes. As before, it’s a good idea to keep antihistamines close by for such occasions, and to take them around 30 minutes in advance of going outside if you can. You should also wash bed sheets and clothes on a hot wash to rid them of any pollen spores – aim for at least once a week for bedding if you can, as this will help to reduce the amount of pollen which gets pushed into the air each day.
We all know what a burden hayfever and pollen allergies can be, especially if you have to deal with the side effects all year round. Hopefully, these tips will help you to minimise the impact your allergies have on your lifestyle so you can enjoy your usual routine without having to worry about itchy eyes, coughing and sneezing, or any of the other debilitating symptoms that pollen can cause.