As walkers and lovers of nature, we find ourselves in the great outdoors frequently, but as the spring sets in and summer days are promised, those of us who suffer from hay fever can’t quite get as excited.
Hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen, typically when it comes into contact with your mouth, nose, eyes, and throat. Pollen is a fine powder from plants.
According to the Met Office, the UK hay fever season lasts from late March all the way through to September. Late March to mid-May brings tree pollen, mid-May to July is the grass pollen and then June to September brings weed pollen.
Runny noses, sore eyes, and that constant hay fever niggle are rife when we are out and about walking and that pesky pollen starts affecting us, but don’t run back indoors because there are some steps that you can take to help ease things and to keep you outside walking.
Put Vaseline Around Your Nose
It may sound a little odd but if you put some Vaseline around your nostrils it can trap pollen which can then be wiped away rather than you breathing it in.
Get yourself some wrap-around sunglasses which will help keep the pollen out of your eyes and thus allow them not to get so itchy and uncomfortable.
Shower after a day’s hike to get the pollen off your skin and hair.
Similarly, wash your clothes frequently to wash away the pollen, It is a bit of a pain but it will help to keep the pollen away. Also when you are drying your clothes if you can dry them indoors this will also help since pollen can get onto clothes that are outside drying on a washing line.
Keep Your Eye On The Weather Forecast
Many forecasts will let you know what the pollen count is so if you are suffering really badly you could plan your walking around this and avoid the really high days.
Head For The Coast
Getting some fresh sea air in your lungs is never a bad thing and generally, hay fever symptoms are lower when you are by the sea because the air coming in from the sea won’t have pollen in it.
Eat A Spicy Meal
If your hay fever causes a stuffy, blocked nose a hot curry could help ease these symptoms. Spicy chili peppers can help to widen your airways and make it easier to breathe, while other spices, such as turmeric, are natural anti-inflammatories that could help relieve your symptoms.
One of the best nutrients for hay fever is a flavanol called quercetin, which studies have shown can suppress histamine production. Foods that are high in quercetin include green vegetables, berries, beans, and apples, so stock up on these during your next grocery shop.
Eating foods rich in beta carotene and omega 3 are two more ways to soothe your blocked nose and painful sinuses and these can be found in carrots, spinach, yellow fruit, and oily fish.
Histamine is the chemical your body produces in response to your hay fever allergy. It causes swelling that protects your body but it is not needed when you have hay fever.
The last thing you want to do is make your symptoms worse so it’s a good idea to avoid foods that either contain histamine or will encourage your body to produce more of it. Cut out pickles, cured and smoked meat and fish, cheese, and nuts.
Sadly, alcohol is packed with histamine too.
Try a chamomile or nettle tea to relieve your hay fever symptoms as both have antihistamine and anti-inflammatory properties.
Head For The Pharmacy
There are lots of medicines that will also help with your symptoms if things are really getting bad; antihistamines, nasal sprays, and eye drops are the most common, so chat to your pharmacist to see what they think might suit you.