Hay fever hacks to help you get outdoors
After being cooped up inside over the colder months, it can seem a bit unfair when dreaded hay fever saps the fun out of finally being able to venture outdoors come spring and summer.
While hay fever, or allergic rhinitis, can strike at any time of year, many notice it more in spring when airborne grass and tree pollens are at their peak.
Unfortunately for sufferers, that also coincides with an uptake in outdoor activities, like festivals, end-of-year gatherings or the spring racing.
But if stepping outside gives you watery eyes, sneezing fits, a stuffy nose or other hay fever symptoms.
Some foods are believed to work as natural antihistamines, to reduce the onset of or alleviate hay fever symptoms.
Flavonoids – found in colourful fruits and veggies like blueberries, strawberries, tomatoes, sweet potatoes and capsicum – are lauded for their antihistamine and anti-inflammatory properties.
Turmeric, garlic, onion, honey, fish oil and foods rich in vitamin C may help block histamines and reduce allergy symptoms.
The eyes have it
Sunglasses will help stop pollen from getting into your eyes (with the added bonus that they protect your peepers from harsh sunlight).
If you usually wear contact lenses, experts recommend switching to prescription glasses on days when the pollen count is particularly high.
If you absolutely must wear contacts, disposables are preferable and talk to your optometrist about lubricating eye drops. Reducing the length of time you wear contacts can also help.
Rinse your eyes regularly with cold water to flush away pollen.
Knowing what’s in store can help you plan your activities. Check the daily pollen count and forecast so you know if it’s a high pollen day.
Stay indoors if you can on windy days, and avoid going out during or just after thunderstorms.
If you’re an avid green thumb, you’ll be itching to get into the garden in spring.
But to avoid literally itching, you’ll want to choose plants sold as “bird-attracting”, which are pollinated by birds or insects.
Avoid wind-pollinating plants that release seeds into the air, as these can trigger allergic reactions. Asthma Australia also recommends using low-pollen grass for your lawn.
The nose knows
Allergens that cause hay fever are breathed in through the nose.
Some sufferers swear by dabbing a small amount of coconut oil or Vaseline on the inside of the nostrils to help prevent pollen entering the nasal passages.
Over-the-counter antihistamine medication remains a popular hay fever fix for a reason.
They work quickly, are long lasting and have steadily improved over the years
Your spring hay fever emergency kit
If you suffer from hay fever sporadically, it’s a good idea to carry a small hay fever kit in your bag in case you get a sudden attack.
Pack a few of your go-to antihistamines, a single-use eye drop and a pack of tissues – and get out there and get socialising!
This post is brought to you by Zyrtec. Always read the label. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist see your healthcare professional.