While those first fingers of spring sunlight signal a much yearned for change of season for some – spare a thought for the one in five people in Britain who are suffering from hayfever.
As the rest of the populace begins to plan barbecues, country walks and picnics, there are ten million of us who will be frantically rubbing our eyes, wiping our noses and pleading for a hermetically-sealed room away from our nemesis: Pollen.
Yes, that fine powder released by plants, the golden innocuous-looking dusting sported by bumble bees so pretty it was probably engineered by Disney will turn you into a streaming, sneezing, cave-dwelling monster.
And just to be doubly sure you reap the full benefits of this affliction, you’ve got tree pollen for spring, the grass variety for the end of the season and start of summer and weed pollen which can occur any time from early spring to late autumn. Collect the whole set!
In a nutshell, hayfever and/ or allergic rhinitis is a condition caused by the body’s reaction to allergens, which can include dust and pet hair as well as pollen. It creates increased amounts of antibodies, which cause certain cells to release histamine – which triggers the symptoms.
Treatments include the use of pills and sprays in the form of antihistamines to prevent the allergic reaction fro happening and corticosteroids (steroids) to help reduce the levels of inflammation and swelling.
That said, here are some other options:
A red light therapy device designed to suppress the cells which release histamine.
Important disclaimer: You are not going to look cool with this device up your nose.
I used this for three minutes twice a day in the [always in the privacy of my bedroom, it really does look that weird] and while to start I found it a little sore, within a week my nose was feeling less raw and I was definitely not sneezing as often.
This kit delivers saline solution into the nasal passages, keeping them clean, healthy and open. As well as tackling hayfever it can also relieve sinus pressure, flu and cold symptoms and allergies caused by dust, fumes, smoke and dander.
I had to watch an instructional YouTube video to get this one right and you will have to stand over a sink. I took a couple of goes to get it right but I felt as if I’d really flushed everything out once I got the hang of it. I prefer this as an occasional cleanse rather than an every day treatment.
Favoured by yoga enthusiasts and originating from the Ayurvedic medical tradition this dinky little device claims to provide a soothing saline nasal wash, to address hayfever, dryness and sinus pressure.
Again, one to use in the bathroom. I found it hard to get to grips with the Neti Pot and often ended up with fluid running down my throat which I wasn’t hugely keen on.
A lightweight dry salt inhaler which also helps treat and relieve symptoms of asthma and bronchitis. Air moving through the internal salt crystals sees it absorb microscopic particles of salt, allowing it to penetrate the respiratory tract, open it and flush away impurities.
This was definitely the least "invasive" method I used and I was able to carry it around in my handbag too, so it was the most handy. It's soothing to use and looks a bit like an asthma inhaler so you don't get any funny looks either. Result.