Hay fever: how to ease your symptoms as the pollen levels rise

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Runny eyes. Sudden sneezing. Streaming nose. Yes, it's that time of year again for hay fever sufferers.

While many of us have been enjoying the recent hot weather, it has also spelt bad news for the millions affected by hay fever in the UK.

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The much anticipated mini-heatwave of last weekend set off an abnormally high tree pollen count.

And while temperatures have since cooled, many parts of the country are forecast to warm up again in the second half of May.

A spokesperson for the Met Office said: "The return to warmer weather will bring higher pollen counts.

"Pollen counts rise during the morning and then gradually fall off by the evening."

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What causes my hay fever?

Hay fever is caused when the body makes allergic antibodies (IgE) to certain substances, such as pollen or house dust mites, which are known as allergens.

Grass pollen is the most common allergen (May to July), but tree (February to June) and weed (June to September) pollens can also cause the allergic reaction we know as hay fever, according to Allergy UK.

Unlike in seasonal rhinitis, the symptoms of perennial allergic rhinitis will usually be present throughout the entire year and usually relate to indoor allergens, such as house dust mites, pets, including birds, or moulds.

How can I manage my symptoms?

Here are some tips on how to alleviate your symptoms.

You may also want to get pollen ‘push’ notifications via the Met Office mobile app to alert you when the pollen count is moderate or above to help you manage your condition.

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Put Vaseline around your nostrils to trap pollen.Wear wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen getting into your eyes.Shower and change your clothes after you've been outside to wash pollen off.Stay indoors whenever possible.Keep windows and doors shut as much as possible.Vacuum regularly and dust with a damp cloth.Buy a pollen filter for the air vents in your car and a vacuum cleaner with a special HEPA filter.

You can minimise symptoms by avoiding:

Cutting grass or walk on grass.Spending too much time outside.Keeping fresh flowers in the house.Smoking or being around smoke – it makes your symptoms worse.Drying clothes outside – they can catch pollen.Letting pets into the house if possible – they can carry pollen indoors.

A version of this article originally appeared on iNews

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