Hayfever is nothing to sniff at… It’s a health issue that affects a stunning 25% of Irish men.
If you’re among them, you’ll know that the sneezing, runny nose, and watery, itchy eyes hayfever causes can plague your social plans throughout Spring, Summer, and beyond.
The main hayfever season in Ireland runs from late March and September, peaking during humid weather. And the condition can be a particular problem if your work regularly takes you outside.
Hayfever, also known as allergic rhinitis, is an allergic response from your immune system. While the name suggests ‘hay’ is behind all the mayhem, in fact, the condition can be triggered by a range of seasonal allergens like pollens and grass. And everyday triggers like dust mites and animal fur can turn seasonal rhinitis into a problem you face year-round.
Some people have minor and manageable reactions to hayfever triggers. Others experience a significant immune response.
And as your body’s natural defence system kicks into action, swelling and inflammation in the inner lining of the nose (rhinitis), as well as a host of other hayfever symptoms, can cause real discomfort as well as inconvenience and disruption.
What are the symptoms of hayfever?
The most common hayfever symptoms include:
- An itchy, runny or blocked nose
- Itchy or watery eyes
- Frequent sneezing
- Needing to breathe through your mouth
- Always needing to clear your throat
- Always feeling like you have a head cold
- Snoring during your sleep
You may also experience some of the less common symptoms:
- Interrupted sleep
- Feeling tired during the day
- Difficulty concentrating
- Frequent headaches
- Recurring sore throats
- A hoarse voice
- Facial pain or pressure
- Frequent sinus infections
- A reduced sense of smell
Even if you have just a few of these symptoms, you may have hayfever. And you need to bear in mind that some of these symptoms may be caused by other diseases too.
Hayfever or Covid?
This year the question ‘hayfever or Covid?’ is worrying lots of people when their sense of smell falters. It is important to double-check the Covid symptoms list so that you are familiar with the warning signs. However, the runny nose, itchy eyes and tickly throat that hayfever causes are not typical symptoms of Covid-19. Familiarise yourself regularly with the latest Covid guidelines, and you should be able to reduce that anxiety and focus on getting your hayfever symptoms in check.
Tackle hayfever symptoms in 5 easy steps
As the weather changes, there are 5 simple steps you can take to control of seasonal hayfever symptoms and get your plans back on track:
- Minimise your exposure to the allergens which may trigger your hayfever. Stay indoors when the pollen count is high and when it is particularly windy. (Met Éireann provides a handy daily pollen count for Ireland you can use to keep track).
- Wear sunglasses when you’re outside during hayfever season and shower when you get home to reduce your allergen exposure.
- Use a pollen balm around your eyes and nose. It will trap the pollen before it enters your mucosal membranes and triggers an immune response.
- Use a corticosteroid nasal spray, such as Nasocort, to effectively reduce the inflammation hayfever causes in the lining of your nose.
- Take an antihistamine daily throughout hayfever season.
Untreated hayfever may increase your risk of developing asthma, so it is especially important to treat any nasal symptoms it causes. And, whatever your symptoms, remember that hayfever deserves to be taken seriously. Complications such as disturbed sleep, tiredness during the day, headaches, and poor concentration can really take their toll, and lead to accidents and injury.
If you’d like more advice on managing your hayfever symptoms, do get in touch to talk to one of Manly’s pharmacists about your best course of action.