Will gardening spark your hay fever?

meadow-123280_1920With the lighter nights and (hopefully) warmer weather, it’s tempting to get out there, pull up a few weeds and get the lawnmower out of the shed.

But if you’ve had hay fever in the past then you’ll know the perils of grass pollen.  Symptoms include runny eyes and nose; sneezing and itchiness.

Hay fever affects one in five people at some point in their lives.  And the good news is most people report their symptoms improving as they get older with up to 20 per cent saying their symptoms have gone away completely.  The not so good news is, hay fever can affect anyone at any age.

So, what should you do if you start to show symptoms?  Dr Julian Povey Chair of NHS Shropshire CCG explains: “First of all, the symptoms of hay fever can be really unpleasant.  It usually develops in childhood,lily-185317_1920 more so in those with a history of asthma or eczema in their families.

“The best way to control hay fever is with antihistamines.  Starting to take them now so they get into your system will really be of benefit.  These are available from the pharmacy.  And if you’ve any questions remember the pharmacist can help you decide which are best for you, particularly if you’re already on medication.

Dr Jo Leahy Chair of NHS Telford and Wrekin added: “There are some other ways you can help yourself too.  Wearing wraparound sunglasses when outdoors can protect eyes.  Taking a shower and changing clothes after being outdoors will stop you spreading pollen through your home.  Keeping an eye on the weather forecasts and staying indoors if the pollen count is high.  Finally, a small amount of petroleum jelly in the nose helps trap pollen grains.”

For further information about Hay Fever use the NHS Choices website at www.nhs.uk or if you are unsure about your symptoms contact your pharmacist or GP.