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These hay fever remedies are not to be sneezed at.

Byline: MATTHEW BARBOUR

IF THE thought of a summer picnic is enough to turn you into a sneezy, eye-rubbing mess, you're not alone.

Some 18million Brits suffer from hay fever - more than twice the number in the 80s.

And this year could be the worst yet, thanks to a "super pollen" created when pollen from plants mixes with diesel fumes, triggering extreme hay fever and asthma.

Dr Paul Carson, of the British Society for Allergy & Clinical Immunology, says this makes the pollen even stickier, so it stays stuck to your eyes, sinuses and lungs.

So what can you do to avoid it and what works if you're suffering? A smooch a dose laughter lessens symptons TAKE COVER Professor Jean Emberlin of Worcester University said: "Speak to your GP for a referral to a testing clinic so you know which plants to avoid." For a free pollen calendar, go to worcester.ac.uk/discover/ pollen-calendar.html Wear a wide-brimmed hat and wrap-around glasses to limit exposure.

Emberlin said: "Shower before going to bed, keep your windows shut and leave a thin sheet over your bed to pull off before sleeping. " Swap daily contact lenses for weeklies in peak season to avoid hand-eye contact. FIX IT WITH FOOD Foods rich in vitamin E, such as eggs and oily fish, reduce the risk of developing hay fever in the first place.

Foods packed with antioxidants (peppers, berries and broccoli) and Omega-3 (sardines, salmon and seeds) help calm the immune response to pollen.

Eliminating mucus-forming foods, such as milk products, and adding onions, apples, citrus fruits, garlic, ginger and chilli to your diet can ease symptoms. SORT SNIFFLES "Nasal sprays are absorbed much more quickly through the thin nasal membrane than tablets and go to the problem area," Emberlin said.

She recommends seawater nasal sprays, such as Sterimar (PS8.99 for 20ml from Boots).

or of DOWN THE HATCH If eye drops and nasal sprays don't sort it, opt for antihistamines. Choose Clarityn (PS3.50 for 14 tabs) or opt for cheaper products with the same ingredient, loratadine. CHEER UP What feels good is good for you. A daily 15-minute dose of laughter can lessen allergy symptoms by stimulating chemicals that block the production of histamine.

the. Japanese scientists even found a 30-minute smooch reduces the quantity of histamine pumped out by your body and dampens the allergic reaction.

BAN THE BOOZE Alcohol contains histamine, which can aggravate symptoms. It can also be dehydrating, which can stimulate your body into producing more histamine.

Instead, green tea has an antihistamine effect.

STEAMING THE TIDE Try putting a towel over your head and breathing in steam, plus a little Vicks, to help to open your airways.

A smooch or a dose of laughter lessens the symptons

CAPTION(S):

TISSUE SAMPLE Numbers of sufferers have doubled since the 80s

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:May 2, 2017
Words:472
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