Although hay fever is usually associated with grass pollen in late Spring and early Summer, the symptoms start much earlier for around one in four sufferers.
Tree pollen can be released as early as February, with the main tree pollens released from March to May.
The main allergen-producing trees in the UK are Birch, Alder, Horse Chestnut and Hazel, whose pollen causes problems for hay fever sufferers.
The symptoms occur because of the immune system’s overreaction to the pollen, which causes the body to produce histamines.
While normal amounts of histamines in the brain are good – helping to keep you alert, attentive and awake – too many can cause sneezing, a runny nose, nasal congestion, and itchy, swollen, streaming, watery eyes, as well as an itchy nose and throat.
Hay fever can also make it difficult to sleep which can, in turn, zap your energy levels and leave you feeling low and sluggish.
Although there’s no known cure for hay fever, there are lots of natural remedies available to help reduce or prevent some of the symptoms. One such product is HayMax, an organic drug-free allergen barrier balm (sometimes referred to as a nasal balm), which is applied to the rim of the nostrils and the bones of the eyes.
It has been proven by the National Pollen and Aerobiology Research Unit to reduce the amount of pollen entering the body by more than a third.
It works by reducing the amount of pollen getting into the body and is made entirely from natural ingredients so can be used by pregnant and breast-feeding women.
Because it doesn’t contain anti-histamines, it doesn’t cause any drowsy effects and therefore can also be used when driving and operating machinery and will not affect your performance at work.
It’s recently been hailed a ‘Game Changer’ after winning the ‘Best Allergy Remedy’ title in the Healthy magazine awards.
The magazine said: “This organic, drug-free, pollen barrier balm has become a total staple for all you allergy sufferers. Adults and kids are smearing it on their nostrils, and avoiding sneezes.
“For some, one application is enough, others need the odd top-up, but this genius solution to trap pollen, dust mite droppings and animal dander is a game-changer.”
If you suffer from early season hay fever you’re not always prepared, as some medication requires you to take it many weeks in advance, but HayMax can be used immediately and starts trapping pollen as soon as you wipe it on.
It’s also an ingenious formulation. If there is less allergen in the body, there’s less for the body to react against. Less allergen – less reaction (and for some people, none at all!).
If HayMax traps enough of the pollen, dust or pet allergen to leave you with less allergen in your body than it takes for you to react (your trigger level), then you won’t react.
If it takes out enough allergen that you are just around the point where you react, then you may find that although you don’t stop sneezing, you sneeze less.
And the science backs it up. Studies have shown HayMax does what it says on the box: It has been proven in independent studies to trap all types of pollen, as well as dust and pet allergens, before they enter the body.
An independent study by NPARU* found that when applied around the rim of the nostrils, HayMax trapped over one third of pollen grains.
Microbiologist Olivia Kelly is a huge fan of HayMax. Her hay fever was so bad, it made her practically blind and her story featured in several national newspapers and magazines.
She said: “Because I have all year round symptoms I’m using HayMax most of the time and it’s effective straight away. I can sit down and enjoy relaxing in the park or the countryside with confidence, because I know that I’m not breathing in as much of the allergen…And I’m now 100% confident around animal dust and hair – HayMax really blocks that too.”
It’s a game changer for athletes too! Two Olympic athletes have used HayMax successfully for their hay fever. Plus celebrities and doctors on the TV and in the press recommend it regularly.
Other natural remedies worth trying include Pollinosan Hayfever Tablets from A.Vogel which contain seven tropical herbs, including Luffa operculata and Galphimia glauca, which help with allergy to grass and tree pollen – two of the most common hayfever triggers in the UK – as well as allergies to dust, animals and pets, known as allergic rhinitis.
A.Vogel Eye Drops, meanwhile, contain Euphrasia and can be used to relieve dry, irritated or tired eyes. The drops help to soothe and maintain lubrication of the eyes and are suitable for contact lense wearers.
They are also suitable for use during pregnancy or whilst breast-feeding, and for children from two years and over.
Our homes can be filled with airborne allergens during Spring and Summer. Dust, pet and mould allergens are common, as well as the tree and grass pollen that comes in from outside.
This can be a nightmare for indoor allergy and hay fever sufferers – especially in you are prone to both!
10 ways to reduce indoor air allergens
• Reduce the amount of pollen getting into your home by keeping doors and windows closed.
• Vacuum the house regularly using a HEPA (High Efficiency Particle Arresting) filter, especially beds and fabrics, to reduce the number of pollen, dust and pet allergen particles.
• Dusting can spread as much dust into the air as it cleans off your surfaces, but using a damp duster or a microfibre duster will reduce this considerably.
• Apply an organic drug-free allergen barrier balm, such as HayMax, to the nostrils and around the bones of the eyes in the morning, throughout the day and at night.
• Wash bedding regularly to remove allergens. Try using anti-allergy bedding made from ‘intelligent fibres’ that limit the growth of dust mite allergens and keep them away from the skin.
• Dry clothes indoors rather than on a clothes line to prevent pollen particles being blown onto the clothes by the outside wind.
• Mould and dust mites thrive in moist environments. Try to keep the humidity in your house to a minimum to control these allergens. Make sure your house is well ventilated, avoid drying clothes on radiators and/or use a dehumidifier.
• If you own a pet then ensure that it is well groomed and shampooed as much as possible to remove pet allergens, pollen and dust particles, and try to keep pets out of bedrooms.
• Wash your face as soon as you get indoors on high pollen count days. This will wash away pollen particles so that they can’t cause a reaction, and a cool compress will soothe sore eyes.
• Shower at night before sleeping to remove pollen and dust and pet allergens from your hair and body.
“It’s estimated that one in five people in the UK are allergic to pollen and the figure for indoor allergens is nearing roughly the same,” says airborne allergies expert Max Wiseberg, who developed HayMax organic allergen barrier balms.
“If you have a nut allergy, you avoid nuts – and it’s the same with airborne allergies. We need to minimise the pollen, dust and pet allergens (which are microscopic and largely invisible in the air around us) we breathe in.”
Swedish firm Blueair has designed a new state-of-the-art air filter specifically designed to improve indoor air quality for allergy sufferers – making it reportedly almost entirely free of allergy and asthma triggers.
If topical or oral remedies are not enough, a Blueair Classic 405 Air Purifier is rumoured to help you say good riddance to 99.9% of pollutants.