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11 May 2023

Surviving the Summer with Allergies

With summer on the way many of us may notice an increase in itchy, watery eyes, congestion and sneezing but determining whether this is due to allergies or illness can be tricky. These tips should help you to identify a seasonal allergy and help you to deal with the symptoms until they begin to naturally subside in Autumn.

If you're suffering from symptoms that indicate an allergy, before taking action and seeking treatment, you need to confirm that what you're experiencing is actually due to an allergic reaction. Weather changes can play havoc with our bodies and sometimes it's hard to identify an allergy from a virus or cold. You could book an appointment with a GP but if you would prefer to take a test in the comfort and privacy of your own home, when it's most convenient for you to do so, it may be worth getting yourself a home allergy test. These easy to use kits just involve a quick allergy blood test (finger prick) which is sent off to a lab for analysis. Hay fever is usually worse between March and September when it's often humid and warm outside so keep this in mind.

If you do have a seasonal allergy (also known as hay fever or allergic rhinitis) your local pharmacy will have appropriate medication to ease your symptoms, unfortunately there is no cure, which you can usually purchase without a prescription. Antihistamines are a popular option and they come in a variety of forms including capsules, tablets, sprays, lotions, drops and gels. Make sure you check the side effects of anything you do take however to ensure it's suitable for your situation - you might want to opt for loratadine, fexofenadine or cetirizine if you need something non-drowsy but chlorphenamine, hydroxyzine or loratadine if your symptoms make you struggle to sleep at night.

If you're looking for something more natural to assist your allergy symptoms a neti pot (sinus rinse) can really help to clear allergens to provide relief. Vaseline or a barrier balm around your nostrils can trap or block pollen, dust and mold from entering your body whilst wraparound sunglasses can protect your eyes too.

When returning from work or being outside try to change your clothes immediately and take a shower to remove allergens from your hair and body to prevent them from getting into your home. Try to ensure shoes are removed before going inside and make sure pets have their paws wiped after playing in the garden or going for a walk. The less contact you have with allergens the better you will feel so avoid cutting the grass and keeping fresh flowers if possible.

Stay inside on days where the pollen count is high and if possible keep windows and doors shut - it may be worth getting an air conditioning unit or fan if you need to remain cool. Vacuuming and dusting frequently with a damp cloth will help to remove any allergens that may get into your home alongside using pollen filters and an air purifier wherever possible. 

How do you cope with allergies?

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