At many different stages throughout your life, hormone fluctuations can cause lots of changes in your body, but the little-known fact that hormones can play havoc with hay fever symptoms (1) can leave teenagers, pregnant women and those going through the menopause with unexpected summer sniffles and sneezes.
Stop school sniffles
As your teenager heads into the new school year, the last thing they need is the distraction of sneezing and itchy eyes. Help prevent your child being affected by hay fever throughout their school day, consider a non-drowsy antihistamine to help stifle their sneezes and soothe itchy eyes on days when the pollen count is high. If they're playing sports in the sunshine, make sure they wear wraparound sunglasses to help prevent pollen entering their eyes, and avoid going into areas where the grass is long as pollen is more concentrated.
Say no to a stuffy summer pregnancy
I'll never forget the joy of being pregnant, but don't let the milestone memory be clouded by irritating hay fever symptoms. Studies show that 20% of pregnant women are affected by allergies,(3) and symptoms are usually most severe between 29 and 36 weeks of pregnancy. (4) Hormonal changes make nasal congestion more common during pregnancy, and this often gets worse during hay fever season. (5)
When you're pregnant, the range of medicines you can take is limited, so speak to your pharmacist about what could be appropriate to help manage your symptoms. You can also make simple lifestyle changes to reduce your exposure to pollen, such as closing your windows in the morning and evening when pollen counts are the highest and drying your clothes and bed sheets inside to prevent pollen sticking to them. Consider taking a nasal spray which creates a barrier in your nasal cavity and delivers fast, effective protection against pollen and other allergens in the air.
Manage pollen in the menopause
Whether you're working full time, running around after grand children or enjoying some well-earned me time, as you reach the menopause you may be more susceptible to experiencing new or heightened allergic reactions due to hormone fluctuations impacting the immune system. (2)
Low oestrogen levels during the menopause can trigger lots of changes in your body with some being easier to control than others. Any worsening of allergies like hay fever can generally still be managed with over the counter medication so speak to your pharmacist about the most appropriate options for you.
Don't fret over your 'hormonal hay fever', go and see a pharmacist for other tips and advice on how to help put a stop to your sniffly symptoms.
5. NHS Choices