Tis the season to be
jolly sneezy, Fa la la la la, la la la la. Yes that’s right folks, we’re entering into the summer season and that means absolute and pure misery for a large proportion of the population.
As anyone with hay fever well knows, this misery is caused by the release of pollen into the air from the months of May through September; and varies according to which plant is doing the “releasing”. It is heart breaking for anyone who suffers from hay fever to stay indoors when your friends or family are going hiking, camping or to a festival, I know because I’ve been there! But don’t worry all is not lost….there are things that can be done to help with the symptoms and allow you to enjoy the summer.
I have suffered from hay fever for a long time and have tried numerous remedies, pills and potions to ease the misery of my symptoms, some have worked their magic and made it bearable to be out and about but there have been many that failed to even touch the surface of my symptoms. Below I have listed 10 ways to show hay fever who is boss! The below methods may not work for you but you should try them out and see, what have you got to lose? So stop scratching those eyes ‘because you won’t be able to see this post’ and get reading….
1) Be careful at night
Hay fever often gets worse at night; it’s not fair is it? You spend all day suffering only to have your symptoms get worse at night. During the day higher temperatures and wind blow the pollen higher into the air meaning that concentrations are lower, but at night temperatures drop and so does the pollen, towards the ground, becoming much more concentrated. This can mean anyone out camping might be in for a rough night!
If you have the facilities try showering and rinsing your hair before bed. If you have been outside during the day you should change your cloths before going to bed. These might seem like minor suggestions but believe me they can make a huge difference to your camping experience.
2) You can develop hay fever at any age
People can develop hay fever at any age; if you don’t suffer from hay fever yet, there is still a chance you may develop it, bet you thought you were safe didn’t you? This type of hay fever is known as late onset hay fever. Unfortunately this type of hay fever is becoming more and more common these days.
So, if you have any of the following symptoms; stuffed nose, itchy eyes, sneezing, headache and generally feeling crap then don’t just presume it’s a summer cold, take an antihistamine and see if that helps.
3) Protection is the key
I am not one for staying indoors, especially when it is a beautiful day outside, no one likes to miss out on all the fun. Don’t fret there are a few things you can do to protect yourself if like me you suffer from the dreaded (Hay) fever!
Wear sun glasses and a baseball cap to keep the sun out of your eyes. Try your hardest not to scratch your eyes and nose, it may feel relieving for the moment you are doing it but as you probably know, this itching and scratching only makes things worse.
Don’t go rolling around in the grass, this is probably obvious, as a kid I used to do this all the time and would end up suffering terribly ten minutes later. If you have been touching grass or flowers make sure and wash your hands when you are finished picking those flowers for your significant other.
4) Watch the pollen count
Most countries in Europe record the pollen count, you should check this every day during the summer months. Changes in weather can dramatically affect the pollen count. Wet weather can lower it while hot dry weather can increase it. Personally I find that if there is a summer shower and the sun returns, the evaporation of water due to the sun causes my symptoms to spike. So while rain is good for my hay fever it needs to be on a cold damp day rather than a summer shower.
I always keep an eye on the pollen count and you should too. If it’s high you need to take extra precautions, like carrying extra tissues and taking medication.
5) Prepare in advance
I used to make the mistake of only taking my medication when I started to get symptoms. Now, I am not a doctor but a trick I have learned over the years is to start taking my medication before the onset of symptoms in order for it to work effectively. The reason for this is the medication builds up in your system and acts as a “shield” against pollen. Again, I am not a doctor and although I like to think I am an expert on all matter of subjects, please please contact a medical professional before taking any type of medication.
6) Be consistent with treatment
For me I need to keep taking my meds on a consistent basis throughout the summer, if I stop when I start feeling better I find it takes longer to work when I do start taking them again. The trick is to be consistent.
7) Be extra careful if you have asthma
There are lots of you out there that have both hay fever and asthma; you guys need to be more careful when dealing with these combined symptoms. Hay fever in most cases can worsen asthma and it is much easier for people with asthma not to recognise the signs of an attack when they are suffering from hay fever at the same time.
8) Try to stay calm
Hay fever can be unbelievably stressful, it is important to try your best to stay calm, yes; I know this is easier said than done but stress can make your symptoms worse so try to relax, follow the advice above and show hay fever whose boss.
9) Watch your diet
It is always important to eat a balanced diet to get the proper nutrition your body needs to fight off disease but it is even more important when you have hay fever, so eat well before the season starts.
How is honey made? As we all know it comes from bees that collect a hay fever sufferer’s worst nightmare…pollen. When you eat honey it gives your body a unique form of pollen that doesn’t affect you as much and thereby desensitises your body to other forms of pollen. This method doesn’t work for everyone and I am in no way advocating you buy and eat a jar of honey everyday but maybe try a small amount with your next meal or in a cup of tea and see if it works for you.
Vitamin C is a natural antihistamine and is found in lots of fruits, veg and also in multivitamin supplements.
Who doesn’t love eating raw hot peppers by the bowl full? I know I don’t!!! I have never tried this method because I am not one for spicy food but I can see how this might work. Peppers contain a chemical called capsaicin; this chemical opens up your nasal passages and helps with decongestion. Again, you don’t need to go off and eat lots and lots of hot peppers but maybe it’s something to think about when you are packing food for your night out on the hill.
Garlic not only keeps vampires away but it is also another natural antihistamine, decongestant and anti-inflammatory. Eat garlic as much as possible, but not too much that’s your tent partner starts to complain about the smell.
As mentioned in one of the steps above take a small amount of Vaseline and put it on the inside of your nostrils. The Vaseline acts as a pollen catching net, some pollen will slip through but not as much.
So there you have it. We have learned that pollen is more potent at night; you can develop hay fever at any age, and we have learned new tricks and ways to protect ourselves on our outdoor adventures.
To be honest nothing will cure your hay fever completely but you can learn to control it. Some of the methods have worked for me over the years and it has enabled me to go camping during the summer which is what we all love to do right? Try some of the remedies listed above and see if they help you.
These are just a few methods of “showing hay fever who is boss”…let us know how you control your hay fever in the comments below, tell us what works for you,together we can show hay fever whos boss!