Seasonal changes are often exciting with the promise of better weather unless you’re one of the millions of people who have seasonal allergies. Seasonal allergy symptoms can range from runny noses and sneezing to congestion and itchy skin. The medical term for seasonal allergies, such as hayfever, is allergic rhinitis, which occurs when person’s immune system reacts to an outdoor allergen, in this case, pollen. Read on for some tips on how to prevent pollen allergies, reduce allergy symptoms and treat an allergic rash!
Hay fever season in the UK
Hay fever season in the UK occurs at different times of the year depending on the main cause of allergy. You may ask yourself in the summer months “What is causing my allergy symptoms?”. There are three main types of pollen that cause seasonal allergies and these are:
- Tree pollen
- Grass pollen
- Weed pollen
Rainfall in spring plays a big part in the amount of pollen produced that season as drier conditions will prevent as much pollen being produced.
Many hayfever sufferers will want to avoid leaving the house during the times of the day when the pollen count is highest as this will help with their symptoms. Usually, pollen rises in the morning and falls in the early evening, resulting in the highest pollen levels in the evening.
- Typically occurring between March and May, Tree pollen affects around 25% of the UK population.
- Tree pollen is one of the most common seasonal allergy causes as it affects over a quarter of hay fever sufferers.
- Grass pollen has two peaks throughout the allergy season which can occur anytime between mid-May to July.
- The first peak is usually throughout the first two weeks of June and the second being the first two weeks of July.
- These peaks vary depending on the weather, humidity and temperature.
- Weed pollen can be released at any time of the year but usually occurs between the months of June to September.
- The pollen count can vary depending on the type of area you live in, for example, city-centre areas will have a lower pollen count as there is less open green space.
How can you help to prevent pollen allergies?
There are many steps you can take to help reduce your exposure to pollen throughout peak times which will ease the symptoms of seasonal allergies. Here are some of our top tips to reduce pollen exposure:
Stay indoors on dry & windy days
- Stay indoors on dry and windy days as high winds can increase pollen count
- You can use national weather websites to track the pollen count day by day and plan accordingly.
Wear a mask
- Use a filter mask to protect your face when leaving the house.
- This will help to protect your breathing and stop you from inhaling any pollen which may cause an allergic reaction.
- Take allergy medicines in plenty of time before you plan to leave the house.
- Taking an antihistamine tablet before leaving the house might help to reduce the chances of hay fever symptoms.
- Avoid outdoor gardening.
- This includes mowing the lawn and weed pulling.
Wash clothing, skin & hair
- Remove clothes that have been worn outside as pollen may still be attached to the fibres.
- Ensure to wash your skin and hair too.
Don't dry clothes outside
- Don’t hang washing outside as pollen can stick to the fibres.
Best ways to reduce allergy symptoms
It’s best to find out the cause of your seasonal allergy symptoms before treating them as this will make treatment more effective. This can be done by going to your doctor and carrying out an allergy test.
Some of the seasonal allergy/hay fever symptoms include:
- Runny nose
- Watery and itchy eyes
- Itchy sinuses, throat and ears
- Ear congestion
- Skin irritation or rash
Many of the above symptoms can be traced back to breathing in types of pollen or allergens which then cause respiratory symptoms but sometimes skin to skin contact can also cause an allergic reaction.
There are many over-the-counter medicines which can be purchased if you experience seasonal allergy symptoms, such as antihistamines. These can come in the form of tablets, eye drops or nasal sprays.
How to treat an allergy rash
Just like other seasonal allergy symptoms, allergy rashes are caused by skin to skin contact with allergens, such as pollen. Some of the symptoms you might notice for an allergy rash are itchiness and possible red patches on the surface of the skin, which is often referred to as hives.
Hives tend to vary in size and can appear anywhere on the body following contact with an allergen. The best treatment is to eliminate the trigger, however that is sometimes difficult to do.
Antihistamines might be helpful in alleviating the symptoms, however you can also apply cold compresses and wear loose clothing while you’re waiting for symptoms to clear up. A topical treatment, such as Eurax 10% Cream, could be used to help alleviate itching sensation & irritation caused by hives.
Sometimes when your skin is exposed to an allergen directly, it might trigger a different allergic reaction, called contact dermatitis. This commonly appears as itchy, blistered and dry skin and usually appears within minutes or hours from exposure to the allergen.
When the trigger is eliminated, your skin is likely to clear up, however you can use emollients & steroid ointments in the meantime. Eurax HC Cream, with active ingredients Hydrocortisone and Crotamiton, can alleviate inflammation and itching caused by dermatitis and allergic reactions.
Eurax Cream with Crotamiton for the fast relief of itching & skin irritation caused by hives & allergic reactions. Always read the label. Eurax HC Cream with Crotamiton and Hydrocortisone for the relief of itching & skin irritation caused by irritant contact dermatitis, allergic contact dermatitis, mild to moderate eczema & allergic reactions from insect bites. Always read the label.