Hayfever is the name that most people associate with the allergy-like symptoms that they get if they are exposed to pollen. Someone who is allergic to plant pollen may find that they get inflammation, a runny nose, sore eyes, and a sore throat or ear pain, as well as some lung symptoms. Inflammation of the nasal lining is called rhinitis, and one medical term for hayfever is ‘Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis‘.
Hayfever more commonly occurs during times of the year when plants are releasing their pollen. Around a quarter of people in the UK are affected by hayfever, and 90% of people with hayfever are allergic to grass pollen. Some people are allergic to tree pollen, and a small percentage of people are allergic to both kinds, and therefore have symptoms that persist for several months each year.
Most people who suffer from hayfever develop symptoms in childhood and find that the symptoms occur every year at around the same time. In those who experience hayfever all year round, the condition is known as ‘perennial rhinitis’. In some cases, a person with hayfever may develop asthma symptoms. Untreated hayfever can make asthma symptoms worse.
There are several ways to reduce hayfever symptoms:
1 – Avoid unnecessary exposure to pollen
2 – Monitor the pollen count (weather forecasts often report this)
3 – Do not travel to the countryside if the pollen count is reported as being high
4 – Use air filters in your car, and keep the windows up if you are travelling through the countryside
5 – Stay indoors in the mornings and evenings, which are the times of day when the pollen count is going to be at its highest because of the change in temperature
6 – Keep your bedroom windows closed in the mornings and evenings, to stop pollen from entering your room
7 – Put your pillow under your bed covers if you do decide to open the window, to reduce the risk of pollen contaminating the pillowcase
8 – Wear sunglasses to stop pollen from getting in your eyes
9 – If you go out on a day when the pollen count is high in your area, wash your face and change your clothes when you get home
10 – Use Vaseline around your nose and eyes to help stop pollen from reaching the soft tissues
11 – If your symptoms are severe, use a nasal filter
12 – Consider nasal douching as another way of reducing symptoms
Coronavirus and Hayfever Symptoms
COVID-19 spreads through coughing and sneezing, and even people who are asymptomatic or presymptomatic, if infected, can pass on the virus to others. This means that hayfever sufferers should take particular care to control their symptoms when they are around other people. Now that social distancing is being relaxed, it is critical that people with hayfever try not to cough or sneeze in the presence of other people and wear masks sourced from reliable suppliers like Get Masked Up when in public areas.
There are many medications that can help to reduce the symptoms of hayfever, and it is a good idea to consider them. However, corticosteroids may be best avoided during the coronavirus situation because they are immunosuppressive and therefore may increase a person’s vulnerability to COVID-19.
It’s particularly important for those who suffer from asthma to monitor their symptoms and communicate with their doctors. There may be some confusion or concern over the symptoms of hayfever and coronavirus. COVID-19 symptoms can include a cough and fever, just like a cold. Another common symptom is the loss of smell. Hayfever symptoms, in contrast, can include sneezing and eye symptoms but do not normally include a temperature.
If you have any concerns, self-isolate, report your symptoms, and seek medical advice.