Allergy Awareness Week
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We all get the sniffles from time to time when something has irritated our senses, but if you’ve been feeling run down for a while now and you’re experiencing persistent sneezing, coughing, and itchy eyes, have you considered that this may be an allergy to something in your everyday life? Allergies are very common and affect more than 1 in 4 people, at some point in our lives we’re likely to have an allergy to something. Many people aren’t aware of their allergies or how life-threatening they can be, so as it’s Allergy Awareness Week this week we’re looking at the most common allergies and how to treat those irritating symptoms.
What is an allergy?
An allergy is an immune system response to a substance such as food, pollen, and dust, and is an overactive response. These substances would usually not be dangerous but for some people, their immune system mistakenly attacks these harmless substances.
So what is the science behind an allergic reaction?
When your body comes into contact with an allergen it produces antibodies which prompt the release of a substance known as histamine, the substance responsible for the uncomfortable and irritating symptoms you’re experiencing if you have an allergy. Histamine causes swelling, inflammation, and itching which can range from mild to severe.
If you’re experiencing symptoms such as sneezing and an itchy, runny or blocked nose you may well have an allergy, or this could be symptoms of the common cold. If your symptoms are more severe such as swelling of the face, mouth and throat, as well as difficulty breathing, confusion and losing consciousness, you may be experiencing anaphylaxis which is a serious and life-threatening allergic reaction. If you’re experiencing symptoms of anaphylaxis it’s a 999 call!
Hay fever is one of the most common allergies and the focus of this blog post as many of us will be suffering from this particular allergy at this time of year. Other common allergies include:
Food such as peanuts and shellfish
Insect bites and stings
‘Tis the season for hay fever
Pollen may be important for the reproduction of plants but it can be pesky to humans. Pollen is the cause of one of the most common allergies, hay fever, which affects 1 in 5 people in the UK. Sometimes the body reacts to pollen from trees, grass, and weed, and for some, this can be a severe reaction. Spring and summer is the season for tree and grass pollen and if you’re a regular hay fever sufferer you’ve probably been dreading this time of year. When pollen gets in your nose, eyes, mouth and throat this is when you will feel the effects of hay fever.
Summer is supposed to be a happy time of year when we can finally get out of hibernation and experience the great outdoors again, but for the 10 million people in England alone who suffer from hay fever, summer can be a miserable time.
It’s hard to avoid pollen as it floats around us particularly on windy days but there are a few things you can do to prevent hay fever or reduce your symptoms.
Dealing with hay fever
Hiding away this summer is not an option for many people and it shouldn’t have to be! It’s important to get your vitamin D and enjoy the sun, but you may have to take some precautions if you’re a severe hay fever sufferer. This means following our tips for a healthy, happy, and hay fever-free summer!
1. Dry clothes indoors and shower after being outdoors
Drying your clothes outside on a washing line will allow pollen to gather on your clothes meaning you will be in close contact with pollen when wearing these clothes, plus you will have brought a whole load of pollen inside your home when bringing the washing in. Dry your clothes indoors to avoid this and change your clothes as soon as you come in from the outdoors and shower to remove any pollen from your body.
2. Avoid gardening
It may seem obvious as pollen thrives in gardens but for some people, gardening is their therapy and hobby, and they will find this difficult to give up. Unfortunately, planting flowers and cutting the grass will only aggravate your hay fever allergy so it’s best to avoid it at all costs!
3. Wear sunglasses outdoors
Sunglasses not only protect your eyes from the sun, but they also protect them from pollen. Wearing sunglasses will stop pollen getting into your eyes and irritating them. Wraparound sunglasses are the best to keep them fully protected.
4. Keep windows and doors shut and vacuum regularly
Keep your home free from pollen as much as you can by keeping windows and doors closed so that pollen can’t creep in, and vacuum regularly to remove any that has made its way into your home. This is also good for dust-mite allergies and any animal dander that may be lying around. Use HEPA filters in your vacuum and air filters to trap pollen and clean the air around you. Allergy Awareness Week 2019 is all about air quality this year.
5. Take medication to reduce symptoms
Sometimes the symptoms can be unbearable and hinder your ability to get involved in normal activities such as taking your children to the park or getting fit in the outdoors. Your activities shouldn’t stop because of your allergy, take medication to manage your symptoms when you’re in this environment. Many hay fever medicines contain steroids which reduce inflammation and stop the unpleasant symptoms such as irritated and inflamed eyes and nose. Doctor-4-U have lots of hay fever medicines available including:
Don't let allergies control you
Having an allergy can sometimes feel like your entire life is controlled by this tiny substance. Unless you properly manage the allergy and the symptoms it can seriously impact your daily life and your mood. However, by trying our tips you’ll hopefully have a healthier summer than you have had in previous years.
Comment below and let us know how you manage your allergies.