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What we have to say about your health and well being
9
Apr 2015
Hay fever season is fast approaching!!
Hay fever treatment is available in store and available free on the minor ailment service please ask a member of staff for more details! What is hay fever? Hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen. It is also known as ‘seasonal allergic rhinitis’ because it affects the linings of the eyes, nose and throat at times of the year when specific pollens are in the air. How many people are affected by hay fever? Hay fever is one of the most common allergic conditions.Hay fever usually begins in childhood or during the teenage years, but you can get it at any age. Hay fever is more likely if there is a family history of allergies, particularly asthma or eczema. Why has there been an increase in the number of hay fever sufferers? Researchers believe that improved living standards and reduced risk of childhood infections might increase susceptibility to hay fever. Environmental factors may also be involved. What are the symptoms of hay fever? Common symptoms are a runny or blocked nose, itchy nose or throat, frequent sneezing, and itchy, red or watery eyes.If your hay fever is particularly bad, it can have a significant effect on your quality of life – reducing your ability to concentrate and you may be unable to sleep. What causes symptoms? Pollen from trees, grasses and some weeds such as nettles cause inflammation and irritation in people whose immune systems react badly to these pollens. Do hay fever symptoms get worse at certain times of the year? Spring can signal the start of a miserable time for those people who suffer from hay fever.Grass pollen is the culprit for most and the season can start in May and last until July or August, but for people who are allergic to tree pollen the season can start as early as February, depending on whether you are allergic to early or late flowering trees. For those allergic to nettles or other weeds the season is likely to be late summer – August and September. Why are some people suddenly struck by the condition after years of experiencing no symptoms? Although the condition is assumed to begin in childhood, some adults can experience symptoms such as sneezing and itching for the first time. There has been research conducted but no‐one really knows why this happens. It could be something in the environment of those with a genetic predisposition to allergies that sets it off. Alternatively, it could be that sufferers possibly experienced very mild symptoms that they did not notice as children. What treatments are available? There are a number of treatments available such as antihistamines, steriod nasal sprays, decongestants and eye drops. If in doubt, ask your pharmacist. What if I don’t want to take medication? Whilst hay fever cannot be cured there are basic precautions which can be taken to prevent symptoms. It is not always possible to avoid pollen but sufferers should try and stay indoors when the pollen count is particularly high. Similarly, windows should be closed and wrap‐around sunglasses can be worn to avoid pollen getting into your eyes when outdoors. Walking in areas where high pollen levels are likely, such as grassy fields and gardens, is best avoided. Can you drive while taking medication for hay fever? If you have to work or drive make sure you look for a hay fever treatment that does not have a sedative effect.Newer antihistamines are non‐drowsy and your pharmacist can guide you to these. Can you take hay fever medicines if you’re pregnant? Generally, medication during pregnancy should be avoided unless there is a clinical need. Pregnant women, should avoid taking medicines, whether prescribed or bought over‐the‐counter, unless directed to do so by their doctor.
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