Hayfever Hell Coincides with Allergy Awareness Week
24th April 2018
The United Kingdom has recently experienced some unexpected and welcome warm weather, with clear skies and the sun making an appearance after months of miserable weather. However, this warmer weather may actually cause misery for many Brits. More specifically, for hayfever sufferers, and around 30% of adults in the UK and 40% of children are affected, according to Allergy UK. Hayfever season in the UK truly erupted last week as a devastating ‘pollen bomb’ afflicted the country during the significantly warmer weather. This was bad news to the 6 million Brits that are struck down with itchy eyes, a constant runny nose, headaches and irritating sneezes during the pollen season, and even worse for those with asthma because the size of the airways is reduced by pollen.

What is a Pollen Bomb?

You may well be asking what exactly a ‘pollen bomb’ is. According to the New Scientist, plants require a period of cold then warm weather before they can flower. With the extended winter period the UK recently had, plants that were unable to flower earlier in the spring are then probably going to do so simultaneously. This is referred to as a ‘condensed spring’, being shorter than usual. More pollen than usual is released, causing even more misery, with tree pollen likely to be the biggest culprit. This type of pollen affects one in four Brits.

Advice for Hayfever Sufferers

Sonia Munde, nurse manager at Asthma UK, says that anyone that has both asthma and hayfever should ensure they are taking antihistamines and nasal steroid sprays, and ensure they use their preventer inhaler as prescribed to help avert an asthma attack. She commented: “Pollen is a top trigger for asthma attacks at this time of the year, affecting an estimated 3.3 million people with asthma in the UK. “People with asthma who also have a pollen allergy not only experience classic hay fever symptoms such as itchy eyes and a running nose, but are also at an increased risk of a life-threatening asthma attack.” Holly Shaw, nurse adviser at Allergy UK, encouraged people to stock up on antihistamines to help manage their symptoms. Such antihistamines include Loratadine and Cetirizine, both available from Medical Specialists®, along with other hayfever treatment.

What Causes Hayfever?

Also known as ‘allergic rhinitis’, hayfever is caused when the body produces allergic antibodies (IgE) to particular substances, such as pollen, house dust mites or mould, which are called allergens. As mentioned previously, the most prevalent pollen is grass (May to July), but tree (February to June) and weed (June to September) pollens also induce hayfever symptoms. In perennial allergic rhinitis, the symptoms continue all year round and are typically triggered by indoor allergens, such as house dust mites, pets, including birds, or moulds.

Hayfever Impacting Work Life

Hayfever can be so frustrating and cause distress to the detriment of a person’s day-to-day life. This week it was reported in the news that in fact around one in five hayfever sufferers have taken time off work due to their allergy, according to a study. The troublesome symptoms associated with the condition can leave nearly four in ten people finding it difficult to do their job, meaning that 19% of the 1,660 hayfever sufferers involved in the poll have had to call in sick at their jobs. However, a third admitted that had lied to their employer regarding their reason for taking the time off, many believing hayfever would not be viewed as a serious reason for being off work. The research was commissioned prior to Allergy Awareness Week, taking place from 23 to 29 April. It found that 44% cannot remain focused during their working day due to having to constantly blow their nose or sneeze, whilst one fifth say they are more irritable with colleagues. Nearly half of those quizzed claim that those around them who don’t have allergies are not understanding enough of the impact of the symptoms.

Hayfever Treatments

Medical Specialists™ Pharmacy offer a wide range of medicines  to treat allergies such as hayfever, including Loratadine – a non-drowsy antihistamine which can provide relief from the symptoms of hay fever and Nasonex nasal spray – a nasal corticosteroid spray for the relief of congestion, sneezing, itching and a runny nose. Prevalin is another nasal spray that lines the inside of your nose that can actually help to deactivate the pollen. If all that isn’t enough, Medical Specialists® now offer the fantastic NeilMed Sinus Rinse Starter Kit, which is suitable for all ages. This natural soothing saline wash can be used to alleviate many problems such as: . Nasal allergies & dryness. . Sinusitis, rhinitis. . Allergic asthma. . Post nasal drip. . Sinus pressure & nasal stuffiness. . Nasal symptoms from flu & cold. . Nasal irritation from occupational dust, fumes, animal dander, grass, pollen, smoke & house dust. . Nasal congestion.