The UK’s great weather is bad news for millions of hay fever sufferers
28th March 2012
As the gloriously sunny weather descends on the UK, more families are venturing out of their homes and enjoying day trips out to parks, theme parks, etc. However, it may come as a surprise to learn that not everybody is celebrating the good weather. There are those who would probably rather we are still receiving the snow that hit earlier in the year. Scientists have stated that they believe the pollen season will kick in much earlier than normal and even worse, according to a report by Opticrom Hayfever Eye Drops, it will be two or three times as devastating than normal. This is bad news for hay fever and allergy sufferers who now face the prospect of an extended period of anguish. With an estimated 16 million sufferers in the UK alone, clearly the good weather will be causing a lot of eye-rubbing and sneezing across the nation and the weather is showing no sign of disappearing. Trees such as elm and junipers are experiencing usually hot weather for March, and will now be releasing millions of pollen spores into the air as opposed to their normal time of around April. Pollen is released more frequently when the days are warm and the nights are cool. Most people assume that their allergic reactions are a result of flowers that are in bloom; however it is the tree pollens that are causing their runny noses and itchy eyes. Hay fever is caused by an allergy to pollen. Common symptoms include a runny, itchy and/or blocked nose, frequent sneezing and itchy/red/watery eyes. Whilst the symptoms of hay fever may be mild, unfortunately they can interfere with your school or work life, and effect your day to do activities. Even worse – if you have asthma, the asthma symptoms you experience may get worse when you have hay fever. Sometimes, asthma symptoms only come to prominence when you have hay fever. The full severity of hay fever is underestimated. Those who suffer from this condition are actually a lot more likely to develop asthma than those who do not have hay fever.  Even the World Health Organisation has an initiative in place regarding allergic rhinitis and its impact on asthma. This studies the connections between asthma and hay fever. It underlines the importance of treating your hay fever as early as possible in order to minimise the risk of developing asthma. In addition, if a particular person already has asthma, hay fever can worsen those symptoms. The link between the two is thought to exist as once the allergens that cause hay fever reach the lungs, they can then cause asthma. Worryingly, symptoms such as a constant dripping nose, people will usually just think they are catching a cold frequently. 15 to 20% of people with hay fever either also have, or go on to develop asthma.  It is also estimated that between 80 to 90% of people with asthma have developed allergies prior to this.  If you suffer from both hay fever and asthma, extra effort will be required in preventing an occurrence of hay fever and this then can worsen the asthma symptoms, triggering an asthma attack. Antihistamines are usually taken by hay fever sufferers and these are a type of medicine often used to treat a variety of allergic health conditions. A popular antihistamine with hay fever and allergy sufferers is ‘Loratadine’. This is used to relieve the symptoms of hay fever (allergy to pollen, dust, or other substances in the air) and other allergies. These symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes, nose, or throat. Loratadine is also used to treat itching and redness caused by hives. At Medical Specialists Pharmacy we offer Loratadine from as little as £3.42 for 10 x 10mg tablets. If hay fever brings on an asthma attack, a ‘reliever’ inhaler is usually taken. These inhalers are usually blue and are taken immediately to relieve asthma symptoms. They quickly relax the muscles surrounding the narrowed airways. This allows the airways to open wider, making it easier to breathe again. Relievers are essential in treating asthma attacks. Ventolin Evohaler is a widely used reliever and this medication contains salbutamol sulphate, treating breathing problems in people with asthma and similar conditions. This includes relieving and preventing asthma brought on by exercise or other “triggers”. These are things, which bring on asthma symptoms in some people. Common triggers include house dust, pollen, cats, dogs and cigarette smoke. At Medical Specialists Pharmacy, prices from as little as £5.98 per inhaler, cheaper than the NHS. In addition, at Medical Specialists Pharmacy we now offer Nasonex nasal spray. Available with or without a prescription, Nasonex is a medication used to help with congestion, sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, and nasal itching due to allergies (known medically as allergic rhinitis). It is also prescribed for nasal polyps (small, non-cancerous growths on the lining inside the nose). Prices of this medication are from as little as £9.98 per pack.