HEALTH MAT­TERS

Macclesfield Express - - MACCLESFIELD PEOPLE -

●● WITH Dr Paul Bowen, a GP with McIlvride Med­i­cal Prac­tice, Poyn­ton, and ex­ec­u­tive chair of NHS Eastern Cheshire Clin­i­cal Com­mis­sion­ing Group (CCG). SUM­MER is of­fi­cially upon us and I have al­ready seen a num­ber of pa­tients suf­fer­ing with hay fever.

Sneez­ing fits, runny noses and itchy eyes can cause mis­ery to hay fever suf­fer­ers, but the good news is that it is pos­si­ble to con­trol the symp­toms by tak­ing a few sim­ple steps, even in land­locked places like Eastern Cheshire where pollen tends to hang around longer.

I’d rec­om­mend wear­ing wrap­around sun­glasses to stop pollen get­ting in your eyes when you’re out­doors.

You should re­move pollen from your body by chang­ing your clothes and tak­ing a shower af­ter be­ing out­doors.

It’s also a good idea to try and stay in­doors when the pollen count is more than 50, usu­ally in the early evening and when it’s hu­mid or windy.

If you live in a tall build­ing, keep win­dows closed at noon as pollen rises.

If you are a hay fever suf­ferer, it’s not a good idea to put wash­ing out­side to dry if the count is high, as pollen can get trapped in the fi­bres.

Do with­out fresh flow­ers in the house and vac­uum (ideally us­ing a ma­chine with a HEPA fil­ter) and damp dust regularly.

Plan your gar­den care­fully with low-risk plants and ask some­one else to cut the grass if you can.

When driv­ing, it’s im­por­tant to keep car win­dows closed and you should con­sider buy­ing a pollen fil­ter for the air vents. Most cases of hay fever can be con­trolled us­ing over-the-counter med­i­ca­tion avail­able from a phar­ma­cist.

In fact, most cases we see as GPs could have been easily man­aged through speak­ing to your phar­ma­cist.

A com­bi­na­tion of an an­ti­his­tamine tablet, eye drops and/or a nasal spray can some­times be needed.

Only if the above steps, in­clud­ing the ad­di­tion of the above medicines, don’t work, should you con­sider speak­ing to your GP.

More ad­vice is avail­able online from Al­lergy UK, the Met Of­fice and NHS Choices.

If symp­toms per­sist year round, you may need to speak to your GP, how­ever.

Hay fever usu­ally be­gins in the early teens and peaks in your 20s.

Peo­ple be­come less sen­si­tive to pollen as they get older so by the time you’re in your mid-40s, hay fever may just be a bad mem­ory.

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