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Do you suffer from Hay fever?

Do you want to understand more and maybe get some tips to help alleviate your symptoms?

I have suffered from Hay fever since the age of 15, so some 30 something years and it can be very debilitating and uncomfortable! So, I am in full sympathy if, when everyone else is cheering as the sun comes out, you are dreading the “good old” hay fever symptoms appearing and making your life hell!!

Maybe you think that is a bit over the top, but I remember first getting hay fever at the age of 15, revising for my O’levels (showing my age now as was before GCSEs!!). I was on a boat in Holland on a river going through fields of tulips and started itching my eyes! I couldn’t stop and to my horror, when I went to look in the mirror, I looked awful, my eyes had swollen up like golf balls! I managed to get through my exams, but remember having lots of tissues around me, eyes and nose very itchy and feeling “bunged up” and generally a bit under the weather.

Anyway I have suffered on and off since then but the symptoms have become less severe as I have aged, however when the pollen count is very high I am back to sneezing, blowing my nose and eyes itch and swell up if I rub them!

So, what is hay fever?

Most know, but for those who may not or haven’t had it, hay fever is caused by an allergy to pollen.

Pollen is the fine powder that is produced by plants, trees or flowers to fertilise other plants, trees or flowers. It’s what the bees are all after, as well as the nectar!! Hay fever is caused by an allergy to grass or hay pollens.

Grass pollen is the most common cause of hay fever (90%), with the grass pollen season being from about May to July. However, the hay fever season can start much earlier than that and this is due to the tree pollen. This can start as early as March and go on until late Spring (May). Then just when you think its all over, there is weed pollen (including nettles, mugwort and docks) and that can run from early spring to early autumn! So, all the way through really! So, depending on the weather conditions, in reality, it can run anywhere from January to November, if we have an early spring or late autumn. Unfortunately for me I have been told I am allergic to every type of pollen!

The awful symptoms experienced with hay fever are due to your immune system reacting to the pollen. It is reacting like your body has been invaded by a virus. Cells on the lining of your nose and eyes release chemicals (e.g. histamine) when they come into contact with pollen. This then causes inflammation in the nose (rhinitis) and the eyes (conjunctivitis). It can also affect the sinuses and throat.

The medical term for Hay fever is seasonal allergic rhinitis because it occurs at the same time/season each year.

How common is Hay fever?

About 1 in 5 people are affected by it at some point in their life! So that’s 20% of the population! I didn’t realise it was so high. It usually develops in children of school age or teenagers (I was 15!) but can strike at any age. However, as you age the symptoms can lessen and eventually can even go away.

It is shown to run in families, and you are more likely to have hay fever if you have asthma or eczema. Your risk is higher if you were exposed to tobacco smoke or diesel exhaust particles during early childhood.

Symptoms of Hay fever:

I think most people know the common symptoms of hay fever are:

  • Runny or blocked nose
  • Itchy nose
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy and watery red eyes
  • An itchy throat
  • Tickly cough

However, some people with asthma may find their wheezing and breathing difficulties getting worse in the pollen season. Sometimes people with hay fever go onto develop asthma.

Common treatments:

As you probably already know you can buy over the counter treatments the most common are:

  • Anti allergy (anti histamine) tablets
  • Nasal sprays
  • Eye drops

Depending on the severity of your symptoms you may need to see your GP who can prescribe stronger medication.

Tips on how to avoid high pollen levels?

  • Stay indoors! Shut windows, in the house, or in the car,
  • Install a special pollen filter for the air vents in your car,
  • Do not hang out your washing outside, as this will attract pollen,
  • Install a weather app on your phone, which will show when the pollen count is high,
  • Avoid cutting the grass, sitting out on the grass, camping etc.,
  • Washing your hair if you have been out,
  • Wear wrap around sunglasses to shield your eyes.

The amount of sunshine, rain or wind will affect how much pollen is produced and spread around in the air! So, on windy days or humid days the pollen spreads quite easily. On rainy days, not so much as the rain clears the air. Plants tend to release their pollen in the mornings, but as the day gets warmer and more flowers open up pollen levels will rise. On sunny days, the pollen count is at its highest in the early evening, so best to avoid walking at those times.

Can I use complementary therapy treatments to help myself at home?

Yes, there are a few things you can do to help alleviate symptoms:

Use essential oils:

  • Use a clean tissue and put a few drops of eucalyptus and lemon oil on it, keep it in your pocket and keep sniffing it when your nose is itchy.
  • I would also suggest that you add 1 drop of eucalyptus and 1 of lemon on a tablespoon of beeswax (or similar) and keep in a small pot and rub this around your nostrils to trap the pollen. You could substitute cedarwood oil or even peppermint oil for eucalyptus oil. You may need to replenish a few times in the day. It can help clear your blocked nose but also helps trap the pollen from entering in the first place.
  • Also place a few drops of bergamot oil, lemon and tea tree oil in a diffuser at home in a room you are sitting in.

NB. Never apply any of the oils neat to the skin.

Why not try reflexology on your own hands:

Firstly, apply some wax or hand cream to both hands. Each move should be completed on one hand and then on the other hand. But if symptoms present more on one side (say left eye is itchy) then repeat more on the left hand.

  1. With your pad of your thumb Massage, in circles, the base of your index finger (where it joins the hand) and the next finger (middle finger) – this should be done on each hand for 30 seconds or so. This helps with itchy eyes (so right hand – right eye, left hand – left eye).
  2. With the pad of your thumb, starting under the base of the little finger, firmly slide across under all the fingers to the index finger (this is the eustachian tube – helps to clear and drain mucous away from nose/head), slide back to the start. Repeat a few times.
  3. With your thumb and index finger of the other hand grip your index finger and pull up towards the tip of the finger. Cover the side of the index finger first, then do the same move on both the front and back of the finger. Repeat twice.
  4. Repeat 3 on each finger.
  5. Using your thumb push up firmly from the base of each finger, starting at the index finger, to the tips of the fingers (great for sinuses).
  6. The circle all around the thumb (represents the whole head).
  7. Using your thumb circle the front and side of the first knuckle of your other thumb (helps with itchy nose). Repeat twice.
  8. Place your hand flat on the table and see the fleshy part in between the thumb and index finger, open out and push your thumb firmly into the centre. This is an acupressure point (LV4) good for inflammation. See image below. acupressure point (LV4)
  9. There is also acupressure point LI11, found at the crease in your elbow. Bend you forearm up towards you and place your thumb at the crease, release your arm down slightly and press into the acupressure point and hold (it maybe tender) – see the video on Youtube if unsure (link below). This can relieve hay fever symptoms.

See Youtube video link for the above hand reflexology sequence for Hayfever (published 23/6/20):


This has also been posted on my Harmonyholisticswirral Facebook page or Debbiehurst22 on Instagram. This can be done anywhere, which is the beauty of it. So, if you know you are about to go out into the sun/grassy area, it can help prevent some of the symptoms appearing or even lessen them if your symptoms are usually very severe. You can work these areas if you are having a flare up too. It doesn’t have to take very long either. I have tried these techniques over the years and they can definitely help.

So hopefully you have found this helpful, and you have taken away some home help tips that may help you and your symptoms.

If you would like more information or perhaps try a reflexology treatment to see if that may help you contact Debbie @ info@harmonyholisticwirral.co.uk.