If, like me, you suffer from hay fever then I do not doubt that you have been particularly suffering this year. Symptoms of hay fever include swollen, watery and itchy eyes, itchy throat, runny nose, fatigue (from the hay fever tables), sneezing, sneezing and well, more sneezing. It can also last for months at a time. It’s basically really annoying. And to make matters worse, it doesn’t look like this bad spell of hay fever is coming to an end. For those who don’t suffer from hay fever, all I can say is well done… seriously.
Hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen. One in five of us who suffer the allergy and, according to experts, the next couple of days will bring very high pollen levels throughout the UK due to large-scale grass pollen production.
The Met Office has said that there is a “very high” pollen count across parts of Wales and southern England, which is forecast to continue for the rest of the week. Met Office spokesman Grahame Madge said the “very high” spike in pollen has been caused by weather conditions and the beginning of the grass season. Mr Madge said: “It is a combination of factors, partly meteorological – the sort of conditions that contribute to pollen release and spread – and also the fact that we have got the grass season.”
I’ve got even more bad news… for all those who love a drink in the sun (basically everyone), alcohol actually worsens the effect of pollen because much of it contains histamine, the chemical that sets off allergy symptoms in the body. BOOO!
Hay fever does not only affect us humans but can also affect your pets too. If your pet is licking or biting their paws, excessively scratching, shaking their head or rubbing their ears or muzzle it is likely they are suffering from hay fever. As well as this, according to the International Journal of Child Health and Human Development, high pollen levels can even affect anxiety levels in people with recurrent mood disorders, such as bipolar.
Love Island star Chris Hughes took to Twitter to write: ‘Hayfever has been the worst ever today. Ever. Today. The worst ever. Today.’ I feel you Chris, I really do.
Pollen season typically starts in mid-March through to September but can start as early as January and end as late as November, separating into three main sections. Different plants release pollen at different times in the year; tree pollen is released late March to mid-May, grass pollen from mid-May to July and weed pollen from the end of June to September.
Although there is no cure for hay fever, there are certain things we can do in order to ease the symptoms.
- Stay indoors whenever possible (basically impossible when it’s sunny let’s be honest)
- Wear wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen getting into your eyes, bye bye sexy Ray-bans
- Shower and change your clothes after you’ve been outside to wash the pollen off
- Put Vaseline around your nostrils to trap pollen, attractive 😉
- Keep windows and doors shut as much as possible
- Vacuum regularly and dust with a damp cloth- yes students, even you should do this
- Buy a pollen filter for the air vents in your car and a vacuum cleaner with a special HEPA filter