The Met Office has forecast levels of pollen to be very high in London and South East England over the next few days, prompting doctors at Epsom and St Helier hospitals to issue some advice and top tips for people with asthma and hay fever sufferers.
Hay fever (allergic rhinitis) is one of the most common forms of respiratory allergies. For many sufferers, it’s a harmless but unpleasant inconvenience. However, for others it can be more serious and cause a significant impairment to their home, school or work life.
Hay fever affects up to 30% of adults and 40% of children and for most people it means itchy eyes and ears, a runny nose, and uncontrollable sneezing. Other symptoms include:
- Red and watery eyes which can sometimes be swollen
- Pain around your temples and forehead
- Headache and earache
- Loss of smell
- Disturbed sleep and tiredness with impaired concentration at work or school.
Consultant Immunologist at Epsom and St Helier, Dr Grant Hayman said: “The symptoms of hay fever can be unpleasant, but are quite common. There are a number of things you can do to help lessen the symptoms, such as wearing wraparound glasses to keep pollen out of your eyes, drying bed linen indoors during the pollen season and keeping the windows closed if at all possible.
“If you are feeling very uncomfortable then I would recommend speaking to your pharmacist. They can give advice and suggest the best treatments, like antihistamine tablets, anti-allergy eye drops and/or steroid nasal sprays. If your symptoms get worse or do not get better after taking medication from your local pharmacist, get in touch with your GP.
“For hay fever sufferers who also have asthma, the symptoms can be more severe and can often lead to tightness in the chest, shortness of breath and wheezing and coughing. If you have asthma, make sure you carry your reliever inhaler and know what to do if your symptoms get worse”.
For more information, please visit the NHS website for more details: www.nhs.uk/conditions/hay-fever .