How to stop hay fever symptoms
A recent study has found that Hay fever is on the rise in London. The tree’s pollen count for London is currently (as of March 2022) 422 PPM, which is classed as high. This means that those who suffer with seasonal hay fever will most likely experience symptoms earlier this year as the weather starts to warm up.
You may think that hay fever only occurs in the daytime, when you are exposed to pollen particles outside, but actually you can suffer just as bad at night. This is because when pollen particles enter your home during the day, they will often end up settling on surfaces and furniture, and notably bed linen which could then mean your allergies are set off at night promoting a distrubed sleep.
Here, Parvinder Sagoo, Lead Pharmacist and health advisor for SimplyMedsOnline reveals his tips for how you can stop hay fever allergies from ruining your sleep.
Keep all windows and doors shut
Shut all windows in your bedroom as soon as you can to prevent pollen particles making their way from outside and into your room, these will attach themselves to furniture and linen such as bedding which could leave you to suffer with allergies when you go to sleep. Shutting all doors and windows takes seconds and will mean your room isn’t full of allergens such as dust mites and pollen particles.
Wash bedding once a week on 60 degrees
Make sure you wash your bedding more often to ensure pollen particles aren’t sitting in the sheets, when drying them you should do this indoors and not outdoors as pollen from the trees will most likely land on the sheets and sit in the creases or stick to them. In regards to washing sheets, most people wash sheets on 40 degrees however we would recommend setting it to 60 degrees to ensure all germs and pollen particles are removed.
Before you head into fresh sheets, make sure you take a shower and wash your hair if you’ve been out all day – pollen particles can easily stick to your skin and hair and these may make their way into your nasal passages, eyes or mouth in the night when you move around promoting allergies. Depending on what you have to do in the shower, this should take no longer than 10 minutes.
Before bed, dab a small amount of Vaseline or petroleum jelly to the outside of each nostril, this will act as a trap for any lingering pollen particles in the atmosphere or on your sheets which could find their way to your face. The particles will stick to the Vaseline as opposed to going up your nose and should help to prevent any sneezing or itchiness in the night. This should take approx. 20 seconds to do and at a very small cost, most petroleum Jelly are around the 2/3-pound mark depending on brand.
Prevent pollen particles
If you don’t fancy washing your sheets constantly, another great tip for preventing allergens from sitting on your bedding is by throwing over a big sheet in the day, this will act as a barrier and you can take it off each evening and your bedding should be safe from particles. You should also clean your bedroom regularly, especially hoovering your carpet as this will get rid of any lingering pollen particles.
Keep your hair off your face
If you don’t want to wash your hair at night, tie it up in a high ponytail or bun to ensure that it doesn’t go in your face at night as pollen particles stuck in the strands could make their way to your face.
Add an eye mask
This might sound like a silly tip, but wearing an eye mask to bed could actually prevent you from getting allergies in your eyes from pollen sitting on your sheets. Once the pollen makes its way into your eye it will cause itchiness and irritation. Wearing an eye mask will create a barrier between your eyes and your pillowcase, providing you keep your mask somewhere safe like a drawer where it wont get pollen particles on it.
Wash your face and nose thoroughly before bed
If you don’t want or have time to shower, just ensuring you wash your face thoroughly including eyes and nose to remove any sitting pollen particles is imperative. This can be done using just a cool damp cloth or adding soap which shouldn’t cost too much. This will take a maximum of 5 minutes. A nasal cleanse, or sinus cleanse is a great way to rid of any lingering irritants which have attached themselves high up into the hairs of your nasal passage. Do this using a salt water solution once or twice a day, tip your head at an angle over your bath or sink and try to use a funnel like tool or even a water bottle with a spout and essentially pour or shoot the salt water solution straight into your nose, this surge of water should help to flush out and remove and any irritants whilst also cleaning the area of any mucus or other irritants.
Take an antihistamine before bed
Take an antihistamine before bed, this should keep any allergies at bay and allow for a peaceful slumber. Steroid nasal sprays can also be used to reduce symptoms such as a blocked, stuffy or runny nose, itchiness in the nose and sneezing.
Change up your diet
Surprisingly, adjusting your diet may help with your sleep during the high pollen count months. Certain foods can actually worsen hay fever symptoms, so staying away from dairy products, starchy and sugary foods before bed should help to reduce your chances of symptoms. Eating foods such as ginger, garlic and chilli can actually help to treat hay fever symptoms as they are high in vitamin C which has been known to improve lung function due to quercetin, which is an antioxidant. Furthermore, Honey is a natural remedy for hay fever because the bee pollen in honey can actually desensitise your body to other pollen, so increasing your daily honey intake should actually reduce hay fever symptoms significantly. I would advise either having a spoonful or two per day right out the jar, or adding to your morning porridge or granola.