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Top tips for managing hay fever symptoms

As March arrives, we say hello to the start of spring, a season of more sunshine and more daylight hours but also more pollen in the air. The start of pollen season is a time many people dread, knowing they’ll have to deal with eye allergies and irritation. Don’t worry; we have some great tips for hay fever management, so carry on reading to find out more.

What is hay fever?

Hay fever is a very common allergic reaction to the pollen emitted by trees, flowers, grass, and weeds. It affects up to 49% of the UK population with both children and adults feeling the symptoms. The allergic reaction happens when tiny particles of pollen, released by plants into the air, come into contact with your eyes, nose, and mouth. The body reacts to the pollen, triggering an immune response that causes swelling, irritation, and inflammation.

Hay fever is most common between March and September. Some weather reports give pollen counts, which give you an idea of whether it’s going to be a bad allergy day. The count tends to be higher on warm, humid, and windy days.

What is hay fever

Hay fever symptoms

If you are sensitive to pollen and have an allergic reaction to it, you may experience the symptoms of hay fever. This can persist for months, making for a miserable spring and summer if you’re affected. The body’s natural response is to wash the pollen out, so as well as sneezing and having an itchy nose and throat, you may experience eye symptoms as your immune system reacts, including:

  • itchy, red eyes
  • watery or dry eyes
  • sticky eyes.
  • swelling eyelids

Hay fever symptoms

How to relieve hay fever symptoms

There is no known cure for hay fever eye symptoms, but there are effective ways to manage them and reduce your suffering. One of the most popular treatments is eye drops for red, itchy, watery eyes such as Hycosan Dual. These preservative-free drops contain ecotin, a compound that stabilises the tear film and stops your eyes from watering. Hycosan Dual is ideal for soothing the itchy, burning feeling in your eyes caused by pollen.

Hycosan Dual

Image sourced from Instagram @scopeeyes

If eye drops aren’t for you, you can try several other things to alleviate symptoms. Start by reducing your exposure to pollen; keeping doors and windows closed will help, as will washing your hands and face when you come in from outside. You can even change your clothes and put them straight in to wash if you’ve been outside on a high pollen count day. However, avoid drying clothes and bedding outside as this means they won’t get covered in pollen, which will cause the symptoms to surface again.

If you need or want to spend time outdoors, wearing sunglasses, especially wraparound styles, can provide a barrier, stopping pollen from getting to your eyes. If you usually wear contact lenses, switching to glasses can be helpful as contact lenses can trap the pollen on the surface your eye. When you come back inside, eyelid wipes can be used to remove any debris and pollen from your lash line. If it’s too late and your eyes are feeling irritated, a cold compress can help soothe them, but be sure to wash your hands before touching your eyes.

Get in touch

Don’t let hay fever stop your fun this spring, tackle those symptoms head-on and contact our opticians in Kenton at The Vision Clinic or Visioncare Opticians, Baker Street. We can help with eye drops or advise if symptoms persist.