Ah, the British summertime ... sunshine, picnics, the smell of freshly cut grass ... But if the great outdoors leaves you with sneezing fits and puffy eyes, you’re likely to suffer from hay fever. Antihistamines are a good option to dampen down symptoms, but many people prefer natural or drug-free remedies to relieve symptoms. Our pharmacist will talk you through some options.
Topical nasal barriers aim to trap pollen around the nostril, preventing it from entering the nose and provoking an immune response. You could apply Vaseline around the nostrils or Haymax hay fever balm. Drug-free nasal barrier sprays are inert powders or barriers that can be sprayed up the nose to prevent the trigger of histamine release and therefore hay fever symptoms. Becodefence nasal spray is one example. Red light therapy devices are thought to suppress the mast cells that release histamine, thereby reducing hay fever symptoms. Herbal, homeopathic or traditional Chinese medicine may help. A. Vogel Pollinosan Hay Fever Tablets are homeopathic and treat symptoms associated with allergies to grass or tree pollen, dust and pets. A. Vogel Stinging Nettle Urtica Drops contains a natural antihistamine to treat hay fever and other allergies. Acupressure bands such as the Qu-Chi band are designed to apply pressure to the large intestine 11 (LI-11) acupoint on the elbow. Acupuncturists believe stimulation of this acupoint pulls energy away from the head, nose, face and throat. Soothing the eyes can reduce eye symptoms - Optrex Sore eye drops contain witch hazel to clean and soothe the eyes, and eyelid wipes can remove pollen from the eyes to prevent ongoing irritation.
If you’re not getting on top of your symptoms, you can try medicated products targeted at each symptom, or antihistamine tablets. If these don’t help or you’re unsure about your diagnosis, do book an appointment with your doctor. They will assess your symptoms and what you’ve tried already, and work out the best solution for you. You should see your doctor urgently if your asthma is made worse by an allergen, or if you don’t have an asthma diagnosis, but are wheezing, short of breath, or have a cough for more than three weeks. * Written by Adil Naeem, Head of Caidr Platform and a practising pharmacist