For approximately 1 in 5 of us in the UK, Spring can bring anxiety as hay fever season approaches. Hay fever is a seasonal allergy that often leads to symptoms that are similar to a persistent cold – but rather than a virus, it’s provoked by environmental allergens instead.
One of these allergens is pollen. If you already know you’re a regular hay fever sufferer, there are several ways to combat common side effects and get on top of your symptoms before they impact your daily routine.
So, why do we get hay fever when the pollen count increases?
As pollen collects in the air, it can irritate our sinuses. Our sinuses are small, air-filled pockets behind the cheekbones and forehead.
Sinuses are an important part of our respiratory system and help us filter air as we breathe. They also produce mucus, which keeps our noses lubricated. Usually, mucus from these pockets will clear and drain from our noses quickly. However, if your sinuses become irritated they can become blocked by both inflammation and increased mucus production. This can lead to a blocked and runny nose.
This inflammation could eventually lead to sinusitis, which is a common but particularly uncomfortable side effect of hay fever.
Symptoms of sinusitis can include:
- Mucus, which can be green or yellow in colour
- Swelling around the cheeks, eyes and forehead
- Headache (commonly in the forehead and known as a sinus headache)
- Occasionally, post-nasal drip
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, going about your day-to-day activities can be frustrating, and you may feel fatigued and frustrated.
What can you do to unblock your sinuses and ease the discomfort caused by sinusitis?
Luckily there are many ways to unblock your nostrils while you have hay fever-induced sinusitis.
Rest up and stay hydrated:
Taking it easy and drinking plenty of water can encourage the inflammation to reduce.
Take ibuprofen and paracetamol:
These over-the-counter medications can also aid in the reduction of inflammation and can relieve headaches or temperature.
Clean your nose with a salt-water solution
Cleaning your nose with salt water can rinse the inside of your nose and ease congestion. The strength of the salt solution is important here, so make sure you buy one rather than trying to make your own.
Take regular antihistamines
Antihistamines are a type of medication which can help reduce inflammation caused by hay fever and, in-turn, unblocking your sinuses.
Use decongestant nasal sprays and drops
Decongestant sprays can provide short term relief by reducing the swelling in the nose and allowing the sinuses to drain. However, if they’re used for too long a period of time, they can make symptoms worse rather than better.
You can browse our steroid nasal sprays here, which, when used regularly, are the best way to treat the nasal symptoms of hay fever.
Try a warm compress
Applying a warm compress or flannel to the face can help get the mucus moving again.
To browse the full range of nasal sprays, antihistamines, and other hay fever medications, including eye drops, at our online pharmacy here.
Ignoring your hay fever symptoms and struggling through the day might be tempting, especially if finding the time to go to the doctor or pharmacist is hard. But this year, you can be prepared.
Start a free online consultation today, and a member of our certified clinical team will analyse your symptoms and will help prescribe the appropriate treatment. Don’t struggle this hay fever season – by getting access to treatments that reduce your symptoms and help you enjoy those longer, brighter days ahead.