“Allergy is the most common chronic disease in Europe. Up to 20% of patients with allergies struggle daily with the fear of a possible asthma attack, anaphylactic shock, or even death from an allergic reaction.” EAACI 2016
As spring approaches tree pollens start to circulate in the air and that’s when this type of allergy becomes very apparent. While we often talk ourselves about food allergies as Creative Nature products are free from the top 14 allergens – allergy actually takes many forms.
For many people they will begin to suffer from hay fever, although some will think it is just another cold or infection they have caught during the last of the winter months. This is due to the thinking that hay fever is something that affects us during the summer months, from May to August when grass pollen levels are at their highest. In reality that’s far too simplistic.
There are different types of airborne allergens such as tree or weeds, which can also cause hay fever. The pollen season for trees, is usually March to May, but can vary year to year.
According to Allergy UK, approximately 25% of hay fever sufferers are allergic to birch trees, including alder and hazel, whose main pollen season is between April and May. Pollen counts in areas populated by birch trees will be highest on warm, dry days with a mild wind.
Hay fever is a common allergic reaction, which occurs at certain times of the year. It is known as seasonal rhinitis, sharing symptoms with perennial allergic rhinitis, but occurring as a reaction to pollen from grass, trees and weeds, during the early spring and summer months. It affects both adults and children.
What are the symptoms of hay fever?
Symptoms of hay fever are commonly: sneezing, itching and runny nose, itchy eyes causing redness and watering, and a blocked or stuffy nose or sinuses, which may affect sleep. This is why people may confuse their symptoms with a common cold and not realise it is hay fever.
It can become very difficult and sometimes needs treatment over the counter – or even in terms of steroid injections from a GP or specialist. In some cases, eyes can swell closed and over time become damaged. In extreme cases some people feel housebound during the really active pollen days, these are often referenced now in weather forecasts on television and radio.
Do you know your trees?
Being aware of your surroundings and the trees around where you live and work can help you to take more care during the troublesome months.
Allergy UK website has an excellent calendar that gives description and information about the different trees, and their allergenic potency.
How can you try to keep your hay fever under control?
There are many remedies to treat hay fever symptoms, but avoidance and reduction of exposure is important too. Here are some tips to help along side any medicinal remedies:
- check weather reports for the pollen count and if possible, stay indoors when it’s high
- avoid drying clothes and bedding outside when the pollen count is high
- wear wraparound sunglasses to protect your eyes
- keep doors and windows shut when possible, including car windows
- shower and change your clothes after being outside
- avoid visiting forests and wooded areas
- avoid grassy areas, such as parks and fields, particularly in the early morning, evening or night, when the pollen count is highest
- if you have a lawn, try asking someone else to cut the grass for you
For more useful information visit https://www.allergyuk.org