Sick of seeing Spring through swollen, bloodshot eyes? Here’s some tips on how to conquer the pesky pollen season for life.
Spring is beautiful. Hay fever is not. In fact, it’s probably the most unattractive, infuriating illness that you will ever endure. Whilst everybody else is commenting on how pretty everything looks, you can’t help but curse the evil flowers for turning you into the Elephant Man as soon as you step outside. You start to look back fondly at the winter- a time where you could be within a 5 mile radius of a plant without looking like you’ve just lost 15 rounds to Mike Tyson.
If you’re amongst the lucky hay fever sufferers of the world, then you’ll know exactly what we’re talking about when we say it feels like you’re being repeatedly punched in the face by Mother Nature. You feel like you’re being personally victimised by every tree that you pass and you ruin every single social event that you attend with your incessant stream of snot. I know you smug non-sufferers may be reading this thinking that this is all a bit melodramatic- but have you ever sneezed 58 times in a row and felt like your insides were going to explode out of your body? Didn’t think so.
Even if you’ve managed to escape the gruelling test of hay fever so far, don’t get too cocky. Hay fever is a curse that can creep up on anybody at anytime- it’s merciless and nobody is safe. So, it’s probably best to read on and make a mental note of these life saving hacks so that you’re ready for battle incase the dreaded day ever does come. Good luck.
1) First, let’s make sure that it’s definitely hay fever we’re dealing with here
If you feel like you’ve been struck down by a cold for more than 5 days, then it’s more than likely hay fever. Allergies commonly last for weeks and are normally seasonal (starting in May or September), so that’s your first clue. Itchiness is also a biggie- if you find yourself constantly itching your eyes, nose, ears and throat, then I’m afraid your time has come. Coughing and chest congestion can be a symptom of either, but a cough related to allergies will more often be a dry cough or tickle, according to BuzzFeed Health expert Dr. Purvi Parikh. Also, if you have a fever, it’s probably not allergies but just your average common flu (it really is a lose/lose situation isn’t it?).
2) Nip it in the bud (no pun intended) before the symptoms start ruining your life
Firstly, we know this sounds weird and confusing. You wouldn’t start taking antibiotics for an infection you don’t even have yet so why are we expected to be psychic when it comes to hay fever? For the avid sufferers who are struck down every year by allergies, don’t be naive and think “maybe I’ll be fine this year”. You won’t. There’s no room for optimism when it comes to hay fever- it’s a cruel mistress. Start taking allergy meds in early April and control your symptoms before the inflammation gets out of hand. There’s nothing relaxing about feeling like you can’t breathe and having eyes the size of golfballs. For those who are suffering for the first time, don’t worry if you haven’t started taking meds yet- just make sure you get something as soon as possible.
3) Start on the softer stuff
Prescription allergy meds such as Benadryl can cause drowsiness and seriously do we really need to be more tired than we already are? Before you commit to a sleepy summer, try non-prescription antihistamine meds such as Zyrtec, Claritin, Allegra, or Xyzal. Also, don’t give up hope if the antihistamine that your friend recommended isn’t working straight away- everybody is different and if you’re not feeling relief in a few days then try a different brand.
4) See a D on the label? This means it’s a decongestant and can’t be taken for more than a few days. Great.
Isn’t it wonderful when you find something that’s finally working for you and then you have to stop taking it? According to health experts, your body can become too reliant on decongestant meds and they can also raise your blood pressure if taken for too long.
5) Over the counter nasal steroids will become your new best friend
These little baby’s are a gift from the gods. They’re seriously underrated. They’re completely safe to take alongside antihistamine pills and are an absolute dream for easing your consistent runny nose/itchy eyes/tickly cough problem. They take a week to kick in though- so be patient and solider through. You got this.
6) Time to get hot and steamy
Using a neti pot or sinus rinse to clear out your nose feels and looks disgusting. We admit, it’s not the most glamorous thing that you’ll ever do. However, when your allergies get that bad, you’ll shove just about anything up your nostrils to get a few minutes of relief. Thank us later- they really do work.
7) Clean your pets
Giving your dog a bath is probably the last thing you want to do when your face has swollen to twice it’s normal size- it’s a pain in the ass on the best of days. However, your beloved furry friend could unintentionally be taking you down as they can carry large amounts of pollen into your home. Little rascals.
8) Skip the morning run
As if you needed another reason to try and worm your way out of exercise today- here it is. Pollen counts are higher in the morning and intense inhaling outside will only make matters worse. If you’re feeling guilty just head to the gym instead (and sit in the steam room for an hour). You’re sick, give yourself a break for a week. Or 6.
9) Over the counter eye drops
Seriously, does anyone ever grow out of being terrified of eye drops? Once you finally muster up the courage to put these in (or your family members hold you down) you’ll start to see the world as you used to again. Bliss.
10) Try out some trusty home remedies
We know that you’d rather be sipping mojitos out in the sunshine rather than sipping hot drinks indoors with tissues stuck up each nostril, but homemade teas can really help. Ginger tea with raw honey can help to break up congestion in the chest and loosen phlegm. It also acts as a natural antihistamine and also strengthens the immune system. Amazing!
11) Avoid Dairy
Heres reason 20,891 why we hate hay fever. Dairy makes it worse. Sometimes all you need to make you feel better is some chocolate and a family sized pizza to yourself. However, do this and it can increase mucus production in the respiratory tract making your congestion even worse. Why is nature trying to kill us?
12) Eat lots of garlic
Thought you hit your peak of grossness with your puffy face and runny nose? Well, you’re about to make yourself feel even more vile- it’s time to make your breath skink as well. Garlic is highly anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-viral. It boosts the immune system and is useful for blocking the causes of hay-fever. Say no more, pass us the garlic bread.
So there we have it- our top 12 tips for beating hay fever this year. Combine all of these together and you’ll be frolicking around the fields like you’re in the Sound of Music in no time. If you have any other weird and wonderful allergy hacks that you’d like to share, make sure you let us know in the comments. Also, if you fancy saving a life this Spring, make sure you share this with your friends.