Looking out of my window right now the sun is shining, a breeze is tickling the curtains and although the trees are still bare of leaves, it is a blue sky I see beyond them. But not everyone welcomes this time of year….
Hay fever affects ¼ of the British population
One in four people are effected by hay fever, and unlike the name suggests (hay – harvest time) for many the tree pollen swirling in the air now is causing a runny nose and watery eyes.
There is over the counter medication to help. Additionally, you can help yourself. These five tips are provided by NHS Choices using information from a survey undertaken by the National Pollen and Aerobiology Research Unit of more than 2,000 people with hay fever, found that lifestyle factors, such as stress and exercise, can have a major impact on hay fever.
Five tips to reduce hay fever symptoms
1. Reduce your stress: Easier said than done, but try it anyway because a clear link was found between stress and the severity of hay fever symptoms. As stress levels drop, symptoms become milder.
2. Exercise more: Regular exercise can improve your hay fever. The survey found that people with hay fever who exercise most have the mildest symptoms. Exercise will also help reduce your stress levels, too. Aim to do 150 minutes (two and a half hours) of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise every week. Now, as this is hay fever season, you’ll be better doing it indoors. So put on that exercise video and get bouncing in the living-room. Or go to the gym or swimming-pool.
3. Eat well: The survey suggests those who eat a healthy diet are less likely to get severe symptoms. Be aware though, that some healthy foods can make hay fever symptoms worse. Foods that can worsen hay fever symptoms for some people include apples, tomatoes, stoned fruits, melons, bananas and celery.
Eat foods rich in omega 3 and 6 essential fats which can be found in oily fish, nuts, seeds, and their oils. These contain anti-inflammatory properties, and may help reduce symptoms of hay fever.
4. Cut down on alcohol. Alcohol worsens hay fever because it contains histamine.
5. Sleep well: Try to avoid too many late nights during the hay fever season. The survey found that those who get a good night’s sleep tend to have the mildest symptoms. Just one in eight (13%) people who had at least seven hours sleep a night reported severe symptoms, compared with one in five (21%) who regularly had five hours sleep or less a night.