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Hayfever Advice

Here is a reminder for those of you who suffer with hayfever on how to prepare yourself and help reduce the severity of your symptoms.

During hayfever season (April to September) the local pollen count will be displayed on week days at the hospital in ENT Outpatients and South Reception.

The daily pollen count can also be found on the Met Office website at www.metoffice.gov.uk/health/public/pollen-forecast

The symptoms of hayfever can be controlled in two main ways. One is to avoid the allergens and the other is take medication. Some products, such as nasal sprays and eye drops are useful if a person has localised symptoms but antihistamines are the most common form of treatment for multiple symptoms. Certain treatments need to be started before the pollen season begins in order to prevent the onset of symptoms.

Start your nasal medication early and take it regularly. Take the medication to suit your symptoms:

  • steroid nasal spray treatment should be started two to three weeks before you expect to get symptoms – this will help reduce nasal congestion and blockage;
  • take antihistamine medication regularly, this should be a once a day and a non drowsy form –  this will help reduce irritation, sneezing and watery nose and eyes.

Various eye drops are available,such as sodium cromoglicate and antihistamine – again, take before you encounter the pollen and take regularly for best results – this will help reduce irritation and watery eyes.

Ask your pharmacist. These medications can be bought over the counter at a pharmacy however if you have asthma or any other medical condition and are taking regular medications you should consult with your GP.

If you have tried lots of medications before and they don't seem to work check that you are using them in the correct manner, a nasal spray is very good at reducing inflammation in the nose but only works where it is sprayed, if it bypasses important structures and doesn't reach the area of inflammation, or if you do not take it on a daily basis, it won't work. If symptoms are still not relieved ask about desensitisation to grass pollen.

Tips on avoidance

  • Remember grass pollen levels in the air are at their highest in the morning when the grasses are waking or after a rain fall when it is warm, a windy day will also blow more particles around in the air. In the evening when the air in the higher atmosphere cools this will drop downward brining pollen particles with it causing another rise in the pollen levels. Try not to go out and keep windows shut around these times, including in the car.
  • Put Vaseline around your nose and eyes, this will trap the pollen which can then be wiped away and prevent the triggering of further symptoms, remember to reapply the Vaseline.
  • Wear glasses to protect your eyes
  • When you come indoors from being outside, ideally jump in a shower to wash away any surface pollen, or change your top clothes and damp brush through your hair.

For more information contact:
Janette Bartle
Allergy Nurse Specialist (ENT), ENT Outpatients (C348)
Ipswich Hospital, Heath Road, Ipswich, IP4 5PD
Tel: 01473 703145