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When hay fever season starts, the symptoms, and tips for dealing with pollen allergy; If you've noticed your eyes itching, your nose running and need to sneeze - then it could be hay fever.

Byline: Simon Meechan

It's time to stock up on antihistamines as there is a long spring and summer of hay fever ahead.

People who are allergic to pollen are affected by hay fever.

Contact with pollen from trees, grass and weed can give hay fever sufferers runny noses, itchy and red eyes, headaches and ear aches. Hay fever also triggers sneezing, coughing and a loss of smell.

For many, hay fever is manageable, by taking antihistamines. But for some, hay fever can be a really miserable side of spring and summer, as it makes going out and enjoying the warm weather a lot more difficult.

The Met Office sayspollen countsare already high in some areas, including Yorkshire and the North West.

In the North East, the pollen count is generally low.

However, areas close to large amounts of trees are more likely to have a higher pollen count, as it is currently tree pollen season.

People who have hay fever can look forward to weeks of scratching their eyes, sneezing and feeling bunged up - just as the warmer weather opens up a host of outdoor activities.

The Met Office splits hay fever seasons into three periods between March and September - one for each type of pollen.

It is now tree pollen season, which runs between March and May, affecting 25% of hay fever sufferers.

Grass pollen season runs between May and June. TheNHSsays around 90% of those with hay fever have their symptoms triggered by grass pollen.

It's possible to be allergic to more than one pollen variety.

Grass pollen and tree pollen affect more people than weed pollen, but there are some who are allergic to weed pollen.

Weed's hay fever season tends to stretch from the end of June to September.

First, the higher the pollen count, the worst your hay fever will be. But there are other factors too.

Dry, windy conditions are the worst for hay fever sufferers.

Humidity is a factor too and you'll find you'll suffer the most later in the day.

The NHS says: "During their pollen season, plants release pollen early in the morning.

"As the day gets warmer and more flowers open, pollen levels rise. On sunny days, the pollen count is highest in the early evening."

The Met Office has issued advice on steps to take to minimise hay fever suffering.

* Close your windows at night. It may be annoying when it's hot outside and your home turns into a greenhouse, but most pollen falls to the ground in the evening when the air cools down, so close your window to keep it at bay.

* Wear sunglasses to keep pollen out of your eyes to stop them feeling itchy. If you're gardening, it may also be advisable to wear a mask.

* Don't dry your clothes outside when the pollen count is high. If you do, shake them thoroughly before taking them back into your home.

* Keep windows shut while driving.

* Vacuum your house regularly and wash pets who can bring pollen in on their fur.

* Avoid tobacco smoke as it can irritate your nose, eyes, throat and airways which makes your symptoms worse.

* Shower and wash your hair after going outside.

* Consider medication. Treatments include antihistamine tablets or nasal sprays, corticosteroid nasal sprays and drops, nasal decongestants, eye drops, immunotherapy, and alternative therapies.

* Check the pollen count here.

Warning to any parent thinking of giving their young child paracetamol

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Publication:The Chronicle (Newscastle upon Tyne, England)
Date:Mar 29, 2019
Words:576
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