Thanks to local first aid teacher, Louise Worsley from Worsley Training for this advice about hay fever and pollen-triggered asthma.
Many people are reporting bad hay fever at the moment. If you are suffering, do you know exactly what you are allergic to? This calendar from Asthma UK may help but it doesn’t change the treatment.
According to Allergy UK between 10 and 30% of adults suffer from hay fever.
Around 90% of those are allergic to grass pollen, with peak irritability being between May and July.
But tree and weed pollens can also cause hay fever, and these have a long range with hazel, yew and alder starting as early as January and grass and nettle extending as late as September.
Hayfever and Asthma Symptoms
The typical symptoms of hayfever are:
• A runny or blocked nose
• Sneezing and coughing
• Itchy or watery eyes
This season is also the highest for hospital admissions for asthma attacks. So if you have asthma that is triggered by pollen, you could also notice feeling:
• Short of breath
• A tight chest
According to Asthma UK, high pollution can also make your hay fever worse and heighten your risk of an asthma attack. This is because pollution particles stick to pollen grains so they hang about in the air longer and are harder to get out of your airways. Thunderstorms can also make symptoms worse, as they smash pollen into tiny bits that go deeper into your lungs.
Hay fever is treated with antihistamine tablets or nasal sprays and eye drops (unless you are pregnant). Start taking them up to four weeks before you normally get symptoms to build up the medication in your bloodstream before the pollen starts being released. Ask your pharmacist to help you find the right anti-histamine for you as there are various options. Own brand or non-branded ones are cheaper than branded ones and work just as well.
Steroid nasal sprays help unblock your nose but it can take some time to feel the benefits. Start using it two weeks before your symptoms usually begin. They work by reducing the swelling in your nose so you can breathe more easily. A saline nasal spray may also help you feel more comfortable.
Locally made honey can improve resistance but avoiding exposure is unfortunately the best solution (unless you believe the rumour that gin may help). With that end in mind, it’s not surprising that face masks are proving beneficial to hay fever sufferers.
Finally after being outside, change your clothes and have a shower to wash off any pollen, and try to keep windows and doors shut as much as possible.
For more first aid advice and tuition please visit worsleytraining.co.uk