Is it possible that I'm already suffering from hay fever

01:00 Mon 15th Apr 2002 |

asks Allan:
Yes, it is. Especially if you live in the south of the country. Your personal hay fever season is dictated by the types of pollen that set off your symptoms.

Q. What are they
From April to June it's tree pollens, especially silver birch, ash, oak and London plane. A quarter of all hay fever sufferers are allergic to birch pollens.

From May to August it's grass pollens, especially timothy, rye, cock's-foot and fescue. Grass pollens are the most common culprits, affecting 90% of hay fever sufferers.

From June to September - weed pollens (such as nettles and dock) and mould spores.

Q. Is there anything I could have done to prevent it
Yes. It's a good idea to take your usual antihistamines before your hay fever season starts (always consult your GP before starting any medication for hay fever).

You can also build up your body's resistance to the effects of hay fever.

Q. How do I do that
Good things to try include:

  • Eating a tablespoon of local honey each day for a month. This will help you build up antibodies to the pollen.
  • Eating oily fish three times a week or taking an Omega 3 supplement. This will help to reduce inflammation.
  • Taking vitamin C supplements - vitamin C is a natural antihistamine.
  • Eating lots of bioflavinoid-rich fruit (cherries, melons, blueberries, strawberries, kiwi fruit and grapes) to protect the mucous membranes.
  • Eating more garlic and onions - they contain the flavinoid quercetin, a natural antihistamine.

Q. What can I do to cut down on the effects of the pollen
Keep an eye on the pollen count. The pollen count is the number of pollen grains in a cubic metre of air, and once it goes over 50 the problems start. The pollen count is at its highest at around 5pm in rural areas and a couple of hours later in cities. It's far worse humid or windy days, but rain washes it away and levels drop. To find the pollen count, listen to local weather forecasts, or check the BBC website.

Other things you can do:

  • Keep bedroom doors and windows closed mid-morning and early evening.
  • Keep car windows closed.
  • Smear Vaseline inside your nostrils to form a barrier.
  • Use an ioniser in your bedroom to remove pollen particles from the air
  • Don't mow grass or lie on freshly cut grass
  • �Wear sunglasses.

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