Eye Health Central

8 Ways to reduce hay fever symptoms

8 Practical ways to reduce hay fever symptoms

It’s only a month since the official start to spring, we are just beginning to see lighter evenings and warmer days, although summer still feels some way off, however, we are already seeing Hay Fever warnings in the press.

Although spring and summer are times everyone looks forward to, they can be a nightmare for hay fever sufferers. A runny nose and sore, itchy swollen eyes, is not exactly the best feeling, or look.

Hay fever is one of the most common allergic conditions. It's estimated that there are more than 10 million people with hay fever in England alone and did you know it’s more prevalent in males than females.

man with hay fever in a fieldMan with hay fever

So what exactly can you do to ease the effect of your dreaded high pollen day?

1. Use Eye drops -
Whether you are a contact lenses wearer or not the use of eye drops can help reduce the discomfort of watery itchy eyes.
Taking non-prescription antihistamines such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) can relieve symptoms of hay fever, but if these are not strong enough then prescription eye drops from your doctor, these “mast cell stabilisers” can take between 5- 14 days to be their most effective, so it is helpful to know which pollens most effect you and when they are going to be at their most active.
Check out our Hay Fever info-graphic to help you be prepared.

Hay fever info graphic, highlighting months with high pollen count

Hay fever chart

2. Protect your eyes and nose-
Wearing wrap around sunglasses can reduce the amount of pollen reaching your eyes, and the strategic use of a small blob of petroleum jelly around your nose can help reduce the amount of pollen and dust entering via that route.
If the pollen count is particularly high or you are having a bad day, try a face mask with a pollen filter.

Woman trying to fredue hay fever symptoms with sunglassesTrying anything to reduce hay fever symptoms

3. Stay indoors-
We don’t advocate becoming a hermit but if you can stay indoors keeping the windows and doors closed when your particular pollen irritant is at its most active it will reduce the symptoms.
Bear in mind that pollen counts are normally at their highest early morning and late evening, (although they can sometimes remain high all day) Pollen rises in the air during the day and then descends at night, as the air cools, so try and schedule your outdoor activities around these times.

Hay fever sufferer staying inside, staring out of the windowHay fever sufferer reluctantly staying indoors

4. Head to the beach -
The good news for allergy-sufferers is that the area within a quarter mile of the ocean tends to have significantly lower pollen levels than the surrounding area. ... I’m not to saying beaches are pollen free but pollen levels tend to be significantly lower at the beach thanks to those cool ocean ocean breezes having a cleansing effect on the air.

Beach huts on Brighton beachBrighton beach on a sunny day

5. Embrace the rain-
There’s no denying the fact that hay fever sufferers are a slave to the weather, but just as warm sunny days bring increase pollen counts and hay fever symptoms the beautiful rain brings a reprieve. Rain can reduce the pollen count by washing pollen from the air.
So even if the rain doesn’t make you feel like singing, get out there, exercise, run errands, do your thing, tomorrow might be warm and sunny.

Woman embracing the rain to reduce hay fever symptomsEmbrace the rain to reduce hay fever symptoms

6. Use an air Purifier -
If you haven’t already got one, an air purifier can be a great investment for hay fever sufferers, they trap pollen particles leaving your living environment practically pollen free, look for an air purifier and ioniser that has HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters as these can trap pollens and bring relief.
If you leave the air filter on whilst you are at work you could come home to a pollen and allergen free home.
Air filters are not just great for the home, they are great for the office too. Why not ask your manager or boss to invest in one too.

Air purifiers in the mome can help hay fever sufferersUse of and air purifier in the home can help hay fever sufferers

7. Shower often -
Showering and changing your clothes when you get home is a great idea, by washing away the pollen on your body and removing the clothes that are carrying pollen in to you home you reducing the amount of pollen build up and lessening the risk of hay fever flare ups in your home.

Showering often can help reduce your exposure to pollenShowering often can help reduce your exposure to pollen

8. Change your contact lenses -
If you are a contact lens wearer then try moving to daily disposable lenses if you haven’t already, as these provide you with a fresh, sterile lens every time.
With cheap daily disposable lenses you can even afford to change them when you get home in the evenings.

Crystal Aqua Daily disposable contact lensesCrystal Aqua Daily Disposable Contact Lenses

Author: John Dreyer Optometrist Bsc(Hons), MCOPTOM, DipCLP
Created: 19 Apr 2019, Last modified: 4 Mar 2020