Macclesfield Express - - MACCLESFIELD PEOPLE -

DR Paul Bowen, clin­i­cal chair of NHS East­ern Cheshire Clin­i­cal Com­mis­sion­ing Group and GP with McIlvride Med­i­cal Prac­tice, Poyn­ton. EV­ERY sum­mer, hay fever causes mis­ery for hun­dreds of thou­sands of peo­ple.

Many read­ers will be all too fa­mil­iar with weary­ing symp­toms in­clud­ing sneez­ing fits, runny noses and itchy eyes.

But the good news is that it is pos­si­ble to con­trol the symp­toms of hay fever by tak­ing a few sim­ple steps, even in land­locked coun­ties like 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 over 50, usu­ally in the early evening and when it’s hu­mid or windy.

If you live in a tall build­ing, keep win­dows closed at mid­day 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. If you’re plan­ning a hol­i­day, pollen may be lower on the coast be­cause sea breezes blow it in­land.

Many cases of hay fever can be con­trolled us­ing over-the-counter med­i­ca­tion. An­ti­his­tamine tablets, of­ten along­side eye drops and/or steroid nasal sprays, work well for most peo­ple.

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

Hay fever is caused by an al­lergy to grass or hay pol­lens. Cells in the lin­ing of the nose, mouth and eyes re­lease a chem­i­cal called his­tamine that trig­gers cold-like symp­toms.

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

Peo­ple be­come less sen­si­tive to pollen as they get older so, by the time you’re in your mid-for­ties, hay fever may just be a bad mem­ory and you can really en­joy the spring and sum­mer once and for all.

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