Is it that time of the year again?!
Although you are self-isolating and staying indoors more often, you may be wondering why your seasonal hay fever is still kicking in. Even though you may be inside for a longer period, once you have been outside the allergic power continues long after the exposure has stopped.
Even heading out for a run or walk can expose you to allergens. Triggers come from plants, grass and trees, dust mites, and spores from fungi and mould. While you are exercising, pollen attaches to your clothes, making its way back into your house when you return as pollen particles are tiny and can travel far and wide.
With the changing of the seasons you are opening your windows and doors more often than normal to let air in. These pollen particles will find their way inside your home and attach themselves to various household items, as well as travel directly into your eyes or nasal passages.
How do I know if I have hay fever?
Common symptoms include a runny nose, itchy eyes, congestion, sneezing, and sinus pressure. But unlike a cold, hay fever isn't caused by a virus.
When you have hay fever, your immune system identifies a harmless airborne substance as harmful. Your immune system then produces antibodies which are a protective protein in response to the presence of the foreign substance. The next time you come in contact with the substance, these antibodies signal your immune system to release chemicals such as histamine into your bloodstream, which causes a reaction that leads to the signs and symptoms of hay fever.
Why is this important to know?
Problems that may be associated with hay fever include:
- Worsening asthma: Hay fever can worsen signs and symptoms of asthma, such as coughing and wheezing and you can treat these conditions with nebulising therapy
- Sinusitis: Prolonged sinus congestion due to hay fever may increase your susceptibility to sinusitis — an infection or inflammation of the membrane that lines the sinuses.
So, what can we do to minimise your symptoms during this season?
Here are our 3 tips:
- Keep doors and windows closed - as hard as it is during the quarantine, keeping your windows and doors closed will keep pollen from traveling inside.
- Clean your home regularly - ensure bed sheets, throws, tea towels, and upholstery are washed more often than usual to get rid of settled dust and pollen particles. Cleanliness carries over to your pets, too. Make sure they are cleaned and groomed regularly to ensure that loose animal hair is not being left around your home and causing further irritation.
- Wash your face and hands - in addition to washing your hands frequently to combat COVID-19, experts also suggest washing your face twice a day. By washing your face throughout the day can help get rid of any irritants from the eyes and nasal passages.
If you suffer from hay fever, the best thing to do is to lessen your exposure to the allergens that cause your symptoms and know if this is a trigger for your conditions.