Practical advice and tips on how to help to soothe and prevent itchy, allergy eyes.
The evenings are lighter, the days are warmer, and our skin can finally see sunlight. But although summer is just around the corner, for hay fever sufferers, a stroll in the park can be a cause for watery eyes. So if you’re one of the 13 million Brits affected by airborne pollen, here’s how to help make things better. This guide will help prepare you to cope with hay fever, and enjoy your summer.
What is hay fever? And why me?!
Hay fever is a common allergic condition caused by pollen, which due to the sensitivity of an individual's immune system, can be perceived as a threat. The body then releases chemicals called histamines which are the cause of an allergic reaction that affects the eyes, making them water and itch. Other symptoms include sneezing, blocked nose and an itchy throat.
Higher pollen counts are often recorded when the weather gets warmer and unfortunately this is also when we want to be outside enjoying ourselves, but if you're prepared you can still enjoy the great outdoors. If you are a hay fever sufferer, it’s good to check the day’s pollen count each morning, so that you know when to be prepared.
What’s your pollen problem?
If you think it’s the pollen from flowers making your eyes itch – think again. Flowers are insect-pollinated, so they don’t trigger your hay fever symptoms as much as grass pollens unless you really go and stick your face in them (we don’t advise this).
Hay fever is more often caused by wind-pollinated plants like trees, grasses, and weeds:
Tree pollen: If your eyes feel itchy from late March to mid-May, then this is probably the culprit.
Grass pollen: If you suffer from mid-May to July then it’s probably grass causing most of the problems.
Weed pollen: Think you only get hay fever in the summer? Symptoms can last until early autumn as weed pollens get released from end of June to September.
6 top tips on avoiding hay fever
Avoiding pollen altogether can be tricky as the spores themselves are tiny and can travel long distances in the wind. But here are some tips and advice to help tackle hay fever during the summer.
1) Wear a wide-brimmed hat and wrap-around sunglasses
Who knew that music-festival-chic also doubles up to protect you from hay fever? A wide-brimmed hat and a good pair of shades both act as a physical barrier, blocking particles from getting into the eyes and reducing irritation. So when the pollen count is high, make sure you accessorise accordingly for maximum protection from Mother Nature.
2) Tie your hair back
Pollen has a habit of getting everywhere, including your hair. And once it’s in there the particles can cling on all day, which is bad news, as the pollen can easily drop onto your face and eyes. Keeping your hair tied back and out of the way means you’re less likely to collect the particles and less likely to transfer them to your eyes, causing irritation.
3) Shower before bed
Many of us love a shower to wake us up in the morning. But when it’s peak hay fever season, it’s worth doubling up, or switching to evening showers. Pollen sticks to your skin, so wash it away by showering at the end of a long day. It’ll make you feel fresher and help to relieve irritated eyes.
4) Change your bedding regularly
When the sun’s out it can be tempting to throw open our windows and let in some fresh air. But this can introduce – you guessed it – more pollen, which can get stuck to our bedding. If your routine tends to be: wake up, then spend the first hour of your day itching your eyes, this could be the reason. So limit your hay fever symptoms by making sure you wash your bedding more often – especially your pillowcases. Besides, who doesn’t love getting under clean sheets?
5) Consider pollen filters
If you have air conditioning at home, at work, or in your car, it’s worth checking that there are pollen filters fitted. They’ll trap the particles as air is drawn in, so you can enjoy the cool air whilst minimising your pollen contact. The filters need to be cleaned regularly to keep them effective, but ask someone else to do it to limit your exposure.
6) Spring clean
To help reduce the pollen in your home, regular cleaning such as hoovering and dusting down the surfaces with a damp cloth to reduce moving or disturbing the pollen. This will help towards reducing your hay fever symptoms.
Treat hay fever with Optrex
Optrex has a range of products designed to treat and relieve hay fever symptoms associated with pollen allergens, helping you make the most of summer:
Treat: Optrex Hay fever Drops. They contain 2% w/v sodium cromoglicate (a mast cell stabiliser) to treat and relieve the eye symptoms of hay fever, soothing you from itchy eyes.
Relieve: Carry Optrex ActiMist 2in1 Itchy and Watery Eye Spray in your bag to soothe and relieve itchy eyes when you’re on the move. Simply spray onto closed eyelids, and blink for lasting relief.
Cleanse: Optrex Multi Action Eye Wash is suitable to wash away particles that have gathered in your eyes over the day. A quick cleanse will leave your eyes feeling soothed from tiredness and irritation.
Optrex Hayfever Relief 2% w/v Eye Drops is a medicine. Contains 2% w/v sodium cromoglicate. For the relief and treatment of eye symptoms of hayfever. Always read the label.