Preventative measures to reduce hay fever misery

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Snuffles and sneezes can ruin days out.

And with what promises to be a severe hay fever season looming on the horizon, experts say sufferers should start taking medication now.

If you’re prone to problems it’s also worth following some common sense rules.

‘If you have itchy or runny eyes, wear wraparound sunglasses to help keep pollen out of the eyes, rinse eyes frequently especially after being outdoors, and use eye drops, such as Opticrom Hayfever Eye Drops, to alleviate the symptoms,’ advises Professor Jean Emberlin, pollen expert at Allergy UK.

She also suggests taking a topical treatment for relieving itchy and runny nose, and nasal congestion.

‘A wide range of antihistamine tablets are also available. Some are fast-acting but need to be taken twice a day. Others are slower to have an effect but last up to 24 hours.’

Alternative treatments, tested in clinical trials, which have been found to help reduce or prevent some symptoms include cellulose powder, which forms a protective barrier when puffed up the nose, or phototherapy in which infrared light is shone inside the nose using a device available from pharmacies.

‘Try to minimise pollen in your home,’ Prof Emberlin advises. ‘Don’t hang washing out to dry on high pollen count days, as it will collect pollen like a filter. Cover pillows when you are not using them so pollen doesn’t settle on them throughout the day.

‘Wash hair, change clothes and shower after being outdoors. Wipe furry pets with a damp towel when they come in or, ideally, get someone else to do it.’