10 tips to banish spring allergies
Already sniffling your way through the warmer weather? No one wants to spend months nursing sore eyes and runny noses. But, unfortunately, when temperatures rise, our allergies often flare up, too.
This coming Allergy Awareness Week (25 April-1 May), we’ve asked optometrist Sarah Farrant to give us her top tips for keeping allergies at bay over the spring/summer season. Here’s what she told us:
1 Keep eyes under wraps
Wearing wraparound sunglasses can reduce the amount of pollen or spores that enter your eyes. Allergy-irritated eyes are also more sensitive to sunlight, so stylish shades can help to ease the discomfort of sore eyes, too!
2 Take your shoes off
Those favourite wedges of yours might be what’s bringing pollutants, allergens, and toxins into your home. To keep spores out of the house, wipe your shoes well on a mat and then keep them in the hall, garage, or laundry room out of sight.
3 Shampoo away the pollen
It’s often compared to dust, but pollen is actually much stickier. When it finds its way into your hair it can transfer on to your pillow, causing further irritation throughout the night and leave you feeling groggy the next morning. If you’ve been outside during the day, taking a warm shower before bed can help minimise its impact and promote a good night’s sleep.
4 Timing is key
Avoid outside activity when the air is warming up and cooling down because the pollen count is highest at these times, generally from 8-10am and 5-7pm. Keeping your bedroom windows open at night can help, as heavy curtains and drapes are a magnet for dust particles and mites, but remember to do the opposite when driving to ensure the pollen can’t come in!
5 Travel smart
If you’re planning a spring holiday and are prone to allergies, try and do some research about your destination before booking. It’s usually best to stay away from damp, humid climates, because they are a haven for mites, moulds and pollens. A trip to the seaside is a must on most holiday maker’s lists. Being located around bays and having mild temperatures mean they’re low-allergy destinations.
6 Getting green fingers
In the UK, nearly 50 per cent of us consider ourselves to be a regular gardener. With the weather getting warmer, allotments, garden centres, greenhouses and flower beds are calling! Some blooms are available in a hypoallergenic form, such as sunflowers without the pollen, which are a sure way to help you avoid your allergies flaring up.
7 Clean with care
Whether you’re spring cleaning, your neighbours are undertaking renovation work, or you work in a dusty office, airborne particles can trigger a host of symptoms. While you may think the air freshener is helping improve the space around you, it can actually aggravate the air you breathe even more. Avoid artificial scents, ensure a window is open nearby wherever possible, and keep the dust at bay with a microfiber cloth.
8 Try hydrating eye drops
Irritated and red-looking eyes can be due to dryness, which may leave your eyes feeling ‘gritty’, tired and sore. Lubricating eye drops provide natural relief for mild irritation.
9 Filter the fur
New research from Scope Ophthalmics revealed that nearly half of the population has a furry friend living at home. If you’re a proud pet owner, try an HPEA (high-efficiency particulate air) air purifier (or a vacuum with a HEPA filter) to trap allergens before they can irritate your eyes.
10 Parents – give teddy and friends a bath
While they’re part of the family, it’s highly likely that your children’s teddy bears (not to mention all of their other ‘friends’) harbour lots of allergy-producing dust mites. Ditch the critters by washing your child’s stuffed animals every week in really hot water.
Sarah Farrant works with Hycosan eye drops, which are available in all good pharmacies and opticians.
Read more about spring allergies in the latest issue of healthy magazine, where we explore the most common myths surrounding allergies and the vital need-to-know information to help you through the season.