Making Friends Might Just Be Your Greatest Hay Fever Hack This Summer

Hear us out.
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The scourge of summer plans everywhere, one in five of us are said to suffer with hay fever.

And try as you might with antihistamines, nasal sprays, not hanging your washing outdoors and keeping your windows closed earlier and later in the day, there could be another way to help with the burden of hay fever symptoms: connecting with others.

That’s right. Friendships are thought to improve our sense of belonging and purpose, reduce stress and help you cope with tough situations (like hay fever ruining your life!).

It’s also thought that friendships are particularly helpful when you’re dealing with hay fever, as a recent study has shown that the seasonal allergy could be linked to depression.

“Hay fever, asthma and eczema have all been shown to be associated with psychiatric disease,” explains Dr Farah Gilani, a GP at Medicspot.

“This means that those suffering from hay fever or other seasonal allergies are more likely to experience mental health problems including anxiety and depression.”

Symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, congestion, itchy eyes and fatigue can impair daily function and can cause stress and emotional suffering, said the GP, which in turn can impact mood.

It’s thought that, just as seasonal affective disorder (SAD) can affect people during the rainy, cold autumn and winter months; those suffering with hay fever symptoms through spring and summer can similarly be affected with low mood and irritability.

If that sounds like you, psychotherapist Katy Georgiou, advises not to be hard on yourself. She told the Guardian: ”Bad hay fever symptoms, like any other ailment, can lead to low mood, especially if people feel they’re missing out on fun outdoor activities.”

She urged people not to put pressure on themselves during the spring and summer months – suggesting those with hay fever might be more productive in autumn and winter.

If you’re not able to get out and about because of your symptoms, you can still keep in touch with and socialise with friends – even if that means doing more indoors.

Getting online and seeking connection that way might also help. “If done safely, social media can be a great place to meet others who have the same experiences with severe allergies as you,” added Georgiou.

“Finding your tribe can help you to find new tips for managing symptoms, as well as building new relationships.”

  • Showering nightly before bed
  • Rubbing nasal barrier balm under your nose before going outside
  • Wearing sunglasses out and about to protect your eyes from pollen
  • Keeping windows closed in the morning and evening when pollen counts are highest
  • Drying your washing indoors
  • Changing clothes when you get home
  • Shaking your jacket (outside) after using it
  • Regularly vacuuming and dusting your home
  • Taking antihistamines
  • Limiting alcohol and cigarettes.