Persistent sneezing? Itchy, runny, stuffy nose? Watery eyes? According to allergy.org.nz, hay fever – or allergic rhinitis – affects around 20 per cent of the general population so there’s a good chance this sounds like you or someone you know!
Hay fever occurs when your immune system is triggered by an allergen. You may only think of hay fever as being associated with pollen, however if you’re allergic to it, there is a good chance there are other irritants around your home that could be activating your hay fever as well. These include pet hair/dander, mould and house dust mites.
Aside from taking hay fever medication, here are some of the key things you can do to help relieve your symptoms.
Check the pollen forecast
Did you know there was such a thing? Some weather services include a forecast of the amount of pollen likely to be in the air. There will usually be more pollen around when it’s windy, in the morning or after stormy weather.
Take a look at your local region on metservice.co.nz or accuweather.com for current pollen/allergy information. This can help you prepare if you need to take your hayfever medication in advance or may help you decide whether today is an indoor or outdoor day!
Banish pets from the bedroom
As lovely as it is to snuggle up to Fido or Kitty at the end of the day, the pet hair and dander they leave behind can play havoc with hay fever! Try to discourage them sleeping on your bed and keep your bedroom door closed during the day so they can’t sneak in there when you’re not around.
Wash bed sheets regularly
Every 1-2 weeks, wash all bedding in hot water (or if it can’t be washed, air it outside in the sun) to help kill off house dust mites. If you find yourself particularly sneezy at night – regardless of whether it’s hay fever season or not – dust mites may be the culprit.
It may also help to ensure the carpet in your bedroom is well vacuumed and that you limit or regularly clean any upholstered furniture in the room.
Remove any mould
Regularly check bathrooms, damp areas and any other rooms that may not be well ventilated for mould or mildew and clean with a non-toxic cleaner. Also ensure dehumidifier and air conditioning filters are clean.
Shut up shop
As tempting as it is to air out the house, keep the windows closed – especially if it is windy outside. All the pollen flying around in the air may end up inside your home if you don’t!
Clean your house with care
When dusting surfaces in your house, use a damp cloth to minimise dust flying up into the air. Use a good vacuum cleaner – preferably with a HEPA filter which can filter smaller particles than a standard vacuum cleaner – and be thorough (move your furniture and vacuum under it!).
Try a saline solution
Saline nasal sprays don’t have the scary ingredients some of the standard hay fever medications contain and can help reduce congestion. Saline solutions are also one of the only fever remedies you can use while pregnant, as most medications are not suitable.
Image / FreeDigitalPhotos.net – David Castillo Dominici
What’s your top tip for beating hay fever? Let us know and comment below!