Sneezing a lot? Red, itchy and watery eyes? A runny nose? Is your throat hurting? Hay fever can make you sick, literally and figuratively speaking. Fortunately there are remedies that can help you if you are getting sick of those annoying pollen in the air.
What is hay fever?
Hay fever (a form of allergic rhinitis) is one of the most common allergies in the Netherlands. About 25 to 30% of Dutch people suffer from hay fever. If you suffer from hay fever, this means that your body is hypersensitive to pollen from some flowering grasses, trees and plants.
The symptoms of hay fever are most severe during the pollen season for most people. Since not everyone is allergic to the same pollen and the flowering periods of grass, trees and flowers differ, periods in which you suffer from hay fever may also be different per person. Symptoms include: a runny nose, watery, itchy and / or burning eyes, sneezing and a stuffy nose due to blockage or congestion.Less well-known, but common complaints are: sleeping problems, feeling weak, poor concentration and headaches. Hay fever may have more influence on your daily life than you think!
How to treat hay fever
Avoiding pollen would be the most ideal way to reduce hay fever. Unfortunately it is difficult to completely avoid pollen, as these pollen are present everywhere around us. It is literally flying in the air. To reduce your symptoms as much as possible, there are different types of medicines, treatments and tricks that can help you.
The effect of antihistamines often acts quickly, but does not last long. Antihistamines ensure that the action of histamine is blocked. Histamine is released in the nose and subsequently causes complaints such as sneezing and itching of the eyes and/ or nose. Antihistamines are available as a tablet, nasal spray or as eye drops/ ointment.
Allergy immunotherapy addresses the underlying cause of hay fever. For a long time (read: usually a few years) an allergen (the substance that you are allergic to) will be injected in you. This can be in the form of injections, droplet form or with a tablet under the tongue. At some point the immune system becomes less sensitive to this allergen and responds less or no longer to it. In this way, allergy immunotherapy can ensure that you have no or less problems with hay fever symptoms. Allergy immunotherapy treatment takes place at your general practitioner or in the hospital.
Hay fever symptoms can also be reduced through acupuncture. The acupuncture needles that are placed in your face around the eyebrows (these are your “hay fever points” according to Chinese medicine) focus on strengthening the defence mechanism, making your body respond better to pollen.
Do not hang your clothes outside to dry, because they will be covered with pollen. If you have been outside, shake your jacket well before you take it inside. Put on/ of your clothes in the bathroom and shower before you go to sleep. This way you keep the pollen slightly out of the house. It also helps to keep the windows closed. In addition, it is also good to wash your eyes and nose with water at the end of the day so that the pollen don’t stay there, reducing the risk of hay fever symptoms.