Hay fever is not to be sneezed at, but one GP in Calderdale is asking people to think twice before going to their GP with a runny nose this spring.
“Calderdale is a fantastic place to live, but one drawback to being so close to the countryside is allergies like hay fever, which can take the spring out of your step when the weather starts to improve”, says Dr Helen Davies, a GP at Rosegarth Surgery in Halifax.
“Antihistamine tablets available from community pharmacies, shops and supermarkets can provide relief for most people. These medicines are often cheaper to buy yourself than to get through a prescription, so a visit to your GP isn’t needed in most cases. It’s a good idea to have a stock of antihistamines at home so they’re available when you need them.
“It’s worth bearing in mind that there are a number of different types of hay fever medication available, including tablets, syrups and nasal sprays. If one doesn’t affect your symptoms another may, so speak to a local pharmacist to get advice on the best treatment for your symptoms.
“In most cases, a trip to your GP won’t be necessary, but you should seek medical help if you’re experiencing wheezing, breathlessness or tightness in the chest, are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if your symptoms aren’t relieved by over the counter treatments.”
There are a number of ways that you can avoid triggers of hay fever:
- Keep house and car windows closed, especially when the pollen count is high (early morning between 7am to 9am and evenings between 5pm and 7pm)
- Avoid large grassy areas, woodland, cutting the grass, pollutants and car fumes
- Wear wrap-around sunglasses to help keep pollen out of your eyes
- When you get in from outside wash your hands, face, hair, rinse your eyes and change your clothes
- If possible stay indoors when the pollen count is high
- Use petroleum jelly inside your nose to block inhalation of pollen
- Keep your house clean and wear a mask and glasses when doing house work
- Don’t dry washing outside to avoid pollen sticking to your clothes
- You could buy a pollen filter for the air vents in your car
For more information on hay fever and managing its symptoms, visit www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Hay-fever