Every year millions of people are struck by the seasonal allergy that is hayfever. Hayfever season is officially upon us once more, so you may begin to notice the symptoms sneaking up on you now Spring has sprung.
You're not alone, however, as 44% of British adults now suffer from some kind of allergy and that number is on the rise. Hayfever (also known as seasonal allergic rhinitis) affects between 10% and 20% of all adults and as many as 40% of children.
What is hayfever?
Hayfever an allergy caused by specifically by pollen or dust. The mucous membranes of the eyes and nose are inflamed, causing those watery eyes and the runny nose that hayfever sufferers know all too well.
What are the symptoms of hayfever?
The full list of symptoms, as listed by the NHS are:
- Runny or blocked nose
- Itchy, red or watery eyes
- Itchy throat, mouth, nose and ears
- Loss of smell
- Pain around temples and forehead
- Feeling tired
Hayfever will last for weeks or months, unlike a cold, which usually goes away after 1 to 2 weeks.
When is hayfever season?
Hayfever is a seasonal allergy because of pollen. The levels of pollen in the air vary throughout the year but peak in the Spring and Summer, which is why most hayfever sufferers can rest easy in the winter.
In 2019, the pollen count is predicted to be higher than usual thanks to the unusually warm weather we’ve had in Feburary and March. This unseasonal sunshine has caused some pollens to be released a full month early.
The pollen count is high at the moment – but is expected to rise further in a matter of weeks.
The weather forecasters split the pollen season into three main sections:
- Tree pollen – late March to mid-May
- Grass pollen – mid-may to July
- Weed pollen – end of June to September
How can you relieve hayfever?
There is no cure for hayfever. You can get antihistamine’s from a pharmacist to treat the symptoms, but like any other allergy that best advise doctors will give you is to avoid the cause.
There are some tips and tricks to help alleviate hayfever such as wiping Vaseline around the nose to trap pollen, wearing wraparound sunglasses to shield your eyes and stay indoors as much as possible. Not the most practical (or fashionable) of tips, unfortunately.
Improve the integrity of the immune system, which means that you’ll be less likely to get hayfever and lessen the symptoms of it over time for those who have it.
The purpose of the immune system is to defend itself and keep microorganisms, such as pollen, out of the body and to destroy any infectious microorganisms that do invade the body.
An allergic reaction like hayfever, however, operates on the premise that the normally harmless substance (pollen) is actually an invader and causes your immune system to fight it.
Making sure your immune system is uncompromised allows it to get through its job much more efficiently and over time, you can reduce your sensitivity to the pollen. Increasing your consumption of vitamin C can shorten the length of time you're sick and reduce the severity of your symptoms.
Our favourite sources of vitamin C are bell peppers, kale, broccoli, papaya and of course, our TEA+ Defence.