Wednesday, 9 June 2010

How I keep sane during hay fever season

I have often said I much prefer being too hot than too cold. My theory is that I can get rid of hot in various ways, but not get rid of cold. So it goes without saying that warm, sunny days are precious to me, especially since I moved to the UK, where the most common weather conditions are cold and dark.

Summer is all-too brief in the UK, with perhaps two months that have the possibility of ‘nice’ weather (i.e. sunny and warm) but rarely is the weather good for anything longer than a week or so. Things quickly revert to the more usual conditions of cool and cloudy, if not actually cold and raining.

So for someone like me, that really doesn’t enjoy cold days, the very few nice days are something to cherish, to make the most of, to really enjoy to the max… except that these same warm and sunny days are also the days that bring out my hayfever.

AH isn’t that a kick in the teeth?! So basically I suffer so much on these gorgeous days that sometimes I find myself wishing for some rain to settle all the pollen and give me relief. How ironic is that? Not to mention annoying and extremely inconvenient…

I have only suffered from hayfever in the last 6 years or so, and I’ve been pregnant twice in that time, which meant I’ve had to learn how to manage it without medication and so far I think I’ve done pretty well. I am often asked about the remedies I use so finally, here they all are in one page where they are easily found:

1. Medinose

This is probably the most successful of all my hay fever solutions and it is easily the most bizarre one. How does a little red light that goes in my nose two or three times a day make a difference? I honestly don’t know. I have read something about the science that goes on behind this but I must say that even after I started using the machine I wasn’t sure what was going on. All I can say is that it seems to work. It sounds ludicrous, the claims impossible but trust me, and it’s made my life bearable. It doesn’t get rid of 100% of the hayfever but it has made my eyes far less itchy and the symptoms are more tolerable. Try it and you may find it works for you too.

2. Haymax

This is basically a little pot with what can only be described as lavender-scented Vaseline, which should be applied to the base of the nostrils. This then traps pollen and prevents it from entering the nose. I don’t know if it works or not but it smells lovely, makes my nostrils soft and I can use it at the same time as the Medinose plus so why not?

3. Sunglasses

Surprisingly, this has been a very effective tool against feeling that annoying itch in my eyes that comes from hay fever. I am not a big sunglasses wearer so it has taken a while to get used to putting them on whenever I’m outside, but I do feel that it has made a difference.

4. Closed windows

Again, this may sound obvious but it is worth mentioning. Whenever the day is nice there is great temptation to drive around with the windows down, but I quickly realized this is a recipe for hay fever disaster so begrudgingly I use the a/c instead. Also, I make sure that windows and doors are closed at home, especially during the late afternoon hours when I’ve noticed my hay fever gets worse. It is annoying for the rest of the family but not as annoying as the terrible mood I’m in when my hay fever’s at its worst!

5. Wash hair every day

I read this tip somewhere and although at first I was sceptical, I soon noticed that it does make a difference, especially when sleeping. I have long hair which means that a lot of pollen could get caught up in it, so it makes sense to wash it every day, at the end of the day. It isn’t great for my hair, as it really doesn’t like frequent washing (and it always looks so much better one day after being washed) but the fact that I get sleep more than makes up for my bad hair days. Another tip is to keep hair pulled back and away from the face, which also seems to help.

6. Local honey

This tip is so well-known now that I feel that I don’t have to mention it, but will do anyway. I am lucky enough to have a farm that produces honey about 3km away from my house so I don’t think I can get much more local than that! The trick to make the honey work, for me, is to start taking it a month or so before I can expect the hay fever symptoms to kick in – sometimes I start taking it even earlier. It is no sacrifice as I do like honey. I don’t know if it works or not but combined with the other methods listed above, the symptoms appear to be under control.

I have tried many other things which haven’t worked, like acupuncture, homeopathic remedies and nasal sprays. I have even tried actual medicines like Piriton and Claritin which don’t get rid of the symptoms at all and make me feel horribly drowsy (and yes, they are the non-drowsy formulas!) So I’m sticking to my remedies as they seem to do an ok job. They aren’t perfect and some days are worse than others but at least I know that it won’t be long before I get a rainy day and get some relief from hayfever.

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