These past few weeks have seen my hay fever symptoms begin. You know the usual, sneezing, streaming red eyes and on high pollen days and thunderstorms, asthma! I have experienced hayfever since my primary school years and quite honestly it was something I thought I would grow out of, yet, I am now in my forties and I still suffer. Ironic really as a photographer who adores nature and flowers, something if you follow me on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/melitakylephotography will know as I enjoy the flower and blossom seasons. So I have written this post from years of experiencing hayfever and how I manage them . These are my personal experiences on how to cope, how to reduce the symptoms and not get worn down by it, so that you can still enjoy life outdoors.
The ‘On the go’ Kit List
Ladies: Really large sunglasses ( like those favoured by Audrey Hepburn! ) Gents: Cycling sport style sunglasses with the wrap around sides.
Why? You want to reduce the amount of dust and pollen that floats into your face, you need that initial shield.
Spectacle wipes ( Super handy to pop in your pocket or bag) When you arrive at work or home or wherever you are going indoors give your glasses a wipe to remove any of the lingering dust and pollen. Store them in their holder or bag, you don’t want to just leave them open in your bag which will have dust and pollen everywhere. Earth-friendly version: Cut a glass cloth into squares, but make sure you handwash them when you get home to get rid of the pollen and dust!
Nasal Sprays. You can buy these over the counter. We also use a homoeopathic version too. Always spray your nose before heading outside.
Vaseline ( Petroleum Jelly) They do these in mini tins which again are perfect for travel. Smear a little inside each nostril as this will help trap any dust and pollen and is not noticeable unless you put a huge dollop up there! Ha! Tip: I also massage a tiny amount across my eyelashes ( even with mascara on) again it helps stop the pollen going into my eyes., plus its nourishing your lashes too!
Pure cotton hankies ( make them slightly damp before leaving the house, I tend to place a few drops of tea tree essential oil in a bowl to give an extra antibacterial barrier, wring them out, then pop them in a pretty makeup bag or clip lock bag) Once you arrive at work or home, take one out and give your nose a good blow and wipe gently to remove as much of the pollen and dust you may have attracted whilst out walking/travelling. Tip: Gently drape one across your whole face and press gently as this will help lift any pollen and dust that has collected on the skin’s surface. Tip: Pop your used hankies in a separate bag after use so as to not mix them up with the clean ones.
Hayfever Eye drops ( perfect when the dreaded itch starts) Pop some neutral non-scented irritant makeup remover wipe cloths in your bag too ( gents you can discreetly do this in the bathroom) wipe your eyes and then add the drops. Ladies take your mascara with you to re-touch! Gents, take a small pump of eye cream/gel to massage your outer eye area after you have cleansed and, popped your drops in. It’ll leave you feeling refreshed and a little more human after the journey.
Have a pile of face flannel cloths, these can be cheaply bought from most high street retailers. I store mine a pretty wicker basket that fits easily on the shelf.
Why? Hair! Long, short, up or down, little or volumes. Your hair/head collects pollen dust when you are out and about. So when I get in, I grab a cloth, rinse it under the tap and then wring it out and gently wipe it across my hair to collect as much as possible. Pop the used cloth in your washing machine.
Again use a fresh cloth to gently wipe your face or give it a wash. Refresh your eyes with drops, blow your nose and then moisturise your skin to feel pampered. Believe you me you will feel much better and once these little tips and tricks are part of your daily routine they literally take minutes and help ease the symptoms.
Cool down some chamomile tea bags and place them across your eyes, not only can you multitask and get a quick ten-minute meditation in whilst you lay down but they’ll soothe puffy eyes Tip: try popping them in teh freezer for a few minutes for extra coolness!
Bedrooms. I know how lovely it is on hot days to fling open those windows. Yet, all we are doing is allowing the wind to carry pollen and dust inside, so here is how you can have both and help minimise this. Tip: Buy voile curtains, the type that diffuse the light but doesn’t block it out completely. I find Ikea has a lovely range. Hang them up and you will have a barrier to trap some of the pollen and dust, it means at night you can sleep with your windows open and any pollen blowing directly into the room will get trapped on the outer curtain. They also make the room feel cool and it looks lovely and summery too!
Tips for Hot days and windows.
Early morning as you get ready for the day, open everything up and allow the cool morning air to breathe and chase itself throughout your house. Then as the sun starts to get high and you are ready to head out of the door, close everything up and pull your curtains across and blinds down. This helps minimise the amount of heat too. If possible wait until early evening and open the windows on the side that doesn’t have the evening sun, but keep your voile curtains drawn across as this will help with rising pollen and dust as the air begins to filter through again. Also grab a damp cloth and wipe all your window shelves down.
Seasons and symptoms will vary for everyone. Tree pollen begins usually around March along with Rapeseed fields in April followed by grass and flower pollen well into August and September. So it can be a long haul for some.
I haven’t covered much of medicines here as you would need to be assessed by a qualified medical doctor or practitioner. but in our home, we combine homoeopathy alongside over the counter hayfever tablets as well as the tips above, starting as early as January/February to get a head start. I’d really love to hear your tips and tricks that have helped you manage your Hayfever.