Hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen – a fine powder that comes from male plants or male plant parts.
Pollen is basically flower sperm, and it carries the male gametes (reproductive cells) of seed plants to the stamen (the female part of a plant).
Pollen can be carried on the wind, which makes it easy to breathe in, or it can be transported by birds and insects.
Hay fever is very common. One in every five people or so will deal with it at some point in their life.
It is so common and frustrating, in fact, that many countries have a pollen forecast, to help you plan your outings a few days ahead.
Various kinds of pollen can cause hay fever, including tree pollen, grass pollen, and ragweed pollen.
In addition, hay fever can be caused by dust mites, cockroaches, and dander from pets. Spores from fungi and moulds can also trigger this allergic reaction.
Despite its name, you generally won’t get a fever with hay fever. Also, though hay fever can have similar symptoms to a cold, it is not a virus and it is not contagious.
Typical symptoms of hay fever include sneezing, a blocked or runny nose, and itchy, red, and watery eyes.
You can also get an itchy throat. Basically, your whole head can feel utterly irritable!
Unfortunately, hay fever can last for weeks or months. Which is significantly longer than the average cold, which will go away after one or two weeks.
Hay fever affects different people at different times of the year.
But it is usually at its worst during warm, humid, and windy weather. This is when there is the most amount of pollen growing and travelling about in the air.
So, while hay fever is dependent on the seasons, it won’t ever go away. There is no cure, and it cannot be prevented. But, there are some things you can do to ease the symptoms of it.
A great trick is to put waxy or sticky products (such as lip salve) around the bottom of your nostrils to trap pollen and avoid breathing so much in.
Likewise, you can wear sunglasses to minimise how much pollen gets in your eyes.
You can stay inside, away from the pollen, or failing that, you can also shower (and wash your hair) plus change your clothes after going back outside, to get rid of any pollen.
Pets may also carry pollen indoors, and fresh flowers in the house are an obvious no-no.
You will want to keep your windows and doors shut, and vacuum, dust with a damp cloth, and clean more regularly during the hay fever season.
There are also pollen filters that you can get for your car’s air vents.
Once you have symptoms, be sure to avoid smoke, as it makes them worse.
You can use nasal sprays - this is a medical device for the relief of hayfever, allergies and allergic rhinitis.
Depending on your symptoms and preferences, there are a range of natural products that you can try to ease the symptoms of your hay fever.
Vogel Pollinosan Hay Fever Tablets for example, can be taken as a remedy to help ease sneezing, and an itchy nose, throat, and/or eyes.
This is a homeopathic medicinal product, and the tablets do not cause drowsiness. Anyone over 12 can take two tablets, three times a day, before meals.
Our allergy care at Holland & Barrett come in a variety of formats - from hayfever tablets to nasal sprays, our allergy care is of the highest quality and treat different types of allergies from grass and tree pollen to dust and animals. Many of our hayfever tablets are non drowsy and naturally relive sneezing and itchy eyes, nose and throat.