Hay Fever: It's all about early prevention

Mild winter results in early onset hay fever across the region

Friday, 15th April 2016, 11:43 am
Updated Friday, 15th April 2016, 12:47 pm
Meadow, Flowers, Spring, Hay Fever, Pollen, Blossom
Meadow, Flowers, Spring, Hay Fever, Pollen, Blossom

Thanks to an unseasonably mild winter, many people across the region are experiencing an early onset of hay fever symptoms that are normally associated with the summer months.

With over 30 years experience dealing with hay fever – and tackling it first hand as he is a hay fever sufferer himself – Richard Wells, superintendent pharmacist at Weldricks has a few tips for fellow sufferers.

“Hay fever is still the number one allergy in the region and, following the mild winter we’ve had, we’re already seeing people in our pharmacies with the classic symptoms of this particular allergy,” outlines Richard.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“Several of these customer have thought they’d just got a common cold but, when we talk to them, the diagnosis is actually hay fever which has come as a surprise to many as spring has only just officially sprung.

“There’s been lots of sun over the last few weeks and it’s been relatively warm in comparison to previous years. You only have to look out of the window to see that lots of different flowers are already pollenating earlier than you would expect and many trees will soon be in blossom, something which normally happens in early May rather than early April.”

Explains Richard: “The key piece advice I can offer people is to be prepared for early intervention. Be ready and waiting for your hay fever symptoms before they start. Recognise your symptoms and have some anti-histamines, for example, to hand to take straight away.

“For anyone who thinks they might be experiencing hay fever for the very first time, the best way to tackle it is to identify exactly which pollen it is you are allergic to. Traditionally we think of wheat crops and grass pollen as the key culprits but, every year, we see lots of people with a reaction to tree pollen and rapeseed crops.

“It’s tree pollen that signals the start of the hay fever season and, as I’ve already mentioned, many of the trees are already pollenating so that blocked or runny nose, sore throat and headache you feel sure is a cold could well be hay fever caused by tree pollen.”

Continues Richard: “After we’ve identified which pollen is causing the problem, we can help individuals to spot the symptoms of their particular allergy and advise on the right medicines for them. We can also show people how to use those medicines, such as nasal sprays, most effectively.

“Speaking of nasal sprays, we are delighted to have been selected as one of two companies in the UK to trial a brand new product – Serenz – aimed at people who present with a permanently blocked nose.

“Serenz was developed after an employee of a pharmaceutical company found his blocked nose cleared after spending a few days working in a carbon dioxide (CO2) rich lab. The spray is essentially pure carbon dioxide and has the potential to really help individuals with constantly blocked noses, particularly if they take part in sports, and who are only able to breathe through their mouths.”

Concludes Richard: “Hay fever is all about understanding what’s happening to your body and then managing the symptoms in the best possible way, as soon as you can. If you are unlucky enough to have hay fever, pop into your nearest local Weldricks pharmacy and our highly trained staff will advise and help you to tame that annoying sneezing or coughing!”