10:17am Saturday 5th May 2012
Hayfever sufferers are being urged to prepare for the summer, despite the recent poor weather.
Dr Vasantha Nagendran, head of immunology at St Helier, Epsom and Sutton hospitals, has urged sufferers not to be fooled by the recent downpours.
She said: "If you have never had hayfever it can be difficult to grasp how unpleasant it is for sufferers.
They regularly suffer from itchy eyes and ears, a runny nose and uncontrollable sneezing. It can also make people feel lethargic and really under the weather.
"When the weather does clear, instead of being out enjoying the sunshine, hayfever sufferers tend to stay inside to avoid their symptoms.
"But, whether you have mild to moderate symptoms or have a more severe case of pollen allergy, there are treatments and remedies to help alleviate it."
Hayfever occurs when the immune system treats pollen as a harmful substance and produces allergy antibodies to it.
When the pollen reacts with these antibodies, histamine is released which can cause itching, sneezing, running eyes, running nose and puffiness around the eyes and nose.
Tips for sufferers include wearing wrap around sunglasses when you are out in the open to stop pollen getting into your eyes, dry off any wet washing so pollen does not stick to your clothes, avoid cutting grass, smear a small amount of Vaseline inside of your nose which can reduce pollen induced nasal symptoms in some people.
Other times include using a wet towel and mop your hair and wash your face when you come indoors to rinse off pollen trapped in your hair, eyebrows and eyelashes and to keep windows shut and outdoor clothes away from your bed to make you bedroom a pollen-free zone.
Dr Nagendran added: "I'd encourage anyone with hayfever to speak to a local pharmacist- you don't have to simply accept it and stay indoors- hayfever can be beaten."
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