Between late March and September, especially when it’s warm, humid and windy the pollen count is at its highest.
Pollen is a fine powder released by plants as part of their reproductive cycle. It contains proteins that can cause the nose, eyes, throat and sinuses (small air-filled cavities behind your cheekbones and forehead) to become swollen, irritated and inflamed.
The three types of pollen are:
- tree pollen, released during spring
- grass pollen, released during the end of spring and beginning of summer
- weed pollen, released late autumn
Allergy to pollen causes seasonal allergic rhinitis also known as hay fever which is a common allergic condition.
Symptoms to hay fever are:
- sneezing and coughing
- a runny or blocked nose
- itchy, red or watery eyes
- itchy throat, mouth, nose and ears
Some people also react to pollen landing on their skin, they get hives or rashes in case of localised itching. Unfortunately, there is no cure for hay fever, but you can relieve symptoms to a certain extent.
Things you can do:
- put Vaseline around your nostrils to trap pollen
- wear wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen getting into your eyes
- shower and change your clothes after you’ve been outside to wash pollen off
- stay indoors whenever possible and keep windows and doors shut as much as possible
- vacuum regularly and dust with a damp cloth
- buy a pollen filter for the air vents in your car and a vacuum cleaner with a special HEPA filter
What not to do:
- do not cut grass or walk on grass or spend too much time outside
- do not keep fresh flowers in the house
- do not smoke or be around smoke – it makes your symptoms worse
- do not dry clothes outside – they can catch pollen
- do not let pets into the house if possible – they can carry pollen indoors