Hay Fever is a problem at this time of year, it begins for some as early as late March and probably peaks in July and then drops off dramatically.
Hay Fever comes in 3 waves
- Tree Pollen – late March to mid May
- Grass Pollen – mid May to July
- Weed Pollen – June to September
- Sneezing, nasal congestion, clear running nose
- Eye itchiness, redness & excess tears
- Clear mucous can cause a cough
- Loss of sense of smell and occasionally taste
- In severe cases nose bleeds can occur
- Avoidance of allergies is the most helpful .i.e. staying away from freshly cut grass.
- Using the air conditioning system in your car, keeping the widows closed.
- Holidaying by the sea, sea breezes are excellent.
- Use nasal and eye rinses that wash the allergens away. (Speak with your local pharmacist)
These are generally freely available over the counter. They have rapid onset of action and are most effective in reducing itch, sneezing and the runny nose. These are good for “as required use” if your hay fever is not a daily nuisance. They do not relieve your stuffed nose. Speak to your pharmacist for agent that would best suit your symptoms.
The most effective agent for nasal congestion is intranasal corticosteroids; these can be used where antihistamines don’t work.
There is an agent of this type that is sold over the counter, otherwise the most effective formulas are available by prescription.
In the past depot steroids were used, however these are now not vogue due to their association with thinning of the bone i.e. osteoporosis
For the itchy eyes and excess tear production there are eye preparations that contain antihistamines and there is a combination of over the counter products and prescription only products. Another eye agent that is useful and is sold over the counter is sodium cromogylcate/Opticrom
So, the plan should be if you are aware when you get your hay fever symptoms you should start treatment that is effective for you approximately 2 weeks prior to this, with which ever agent combats your particular set of symptoms.
For most sufferers of hay fever this management plan helps to get through the season. Undoubtedly hay fever has a huge impact on quality of life, however then it disappears until the next season. So being prepared is key.
If you have tried all over the counter remedies without success you should make an appointment with your doctor who will be able to help.
Long Term Care
In extreme cases where the hay fever/rhinitis is really bothersome to combat once and for all a specialist referral for consideration of immuno therapy may be in order. This is therapy that involves many visits to a specialist in allergy and takes 3 years. This treatment is expensive but successful.