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A streaming nose, eyes and itchy throat are the first signs of summer for many hay fever sufferers - it affects up to one in five people at some point in their lives.
However, there’s no need to let it put a dampener on enjoying the outdoors and warmer weather.
You can take control using over-the-counter medicines and simple tricks.
And, Lincolnshire Co-op pharmacists are always on hand to give friendly advice and find the best products for your symptoms.
What is hay fever?
When you have an allergic reaction, your body is responding to something it sees as a threat. Hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen, which is released into the air by plants.
Grass pollen is one of the main culprits, but there are around 30 types of pollen that can cause hay fever.
It means your symptoms, and when they appear, will depend on the pollen you’re allergic to.
Even weeds such as nettles and dock can cause it, but this is more common in autumn.
How do you develop hay fever?
You can get hay fever at any age, although it usually begins in children and teenagers. It’s more common in boys than girls, but men and women are equally affected.
Having asthma or another allergic condition, or a family history of hay fever, can make you more likely to develop it.
Symptoms can improve as you get older. In fact, they completely disappear in around 10 to 20 per cent of people.
Does the weather make it worse?
The amount of sunshine, rain or wind there is can affect how much pollen is released by plants.
When it’s humid and windy, pollen spreads easily. Rain can help clear it from the air.
How can I control it?
Over-the-counter medication including antihistamines can help prevent the symptoms. Treatments can come in tablets, capsules, liquids, nasal sprays and eye drops.
Simple tricks like wearing wraparound sunglasses can help – they can help keep pollen away from your eyes.
A dab of Vaseline around your nostrils can also help trap pollen before it irritates your airways.
Changing your clothes after being outside can cut the amount of pollen that gets inside your home.
If you’re having trouble with hay fever such as breathing difficulties, or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, your pharmacist may advise talking to a GP about other medication.
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