How to handle hay fever when pollen counts are high

HAY fever sufferers are being warned to watch out by experts, as a winter heatwave is set to spark a ‘pollen bomb’ this weekend.

Temperatures are expected to reach a balmy 17C across London and the South East. While this is welcome news after the prolonged cold snap, allergy sufferers may find themselves succumbing to symptoms such as sneezing, headaches, itchy eyes and even inflamed ears.

However, the experts at Specsavers are here to help. Specsavers Clinical Services Director Giles Edmonds says: ‘As well as sneezing and a blocked or runny nose, hay fever can also cause red, itchy or watery eyes, which can be particularly problematic for contact lens wearers.

‘Those who wear contact lenses may notice the vision through their lenses can appear smeary and eyes can generally feel uncomfortable. While it can be tempting to rub your eyes to ease discomfort, it’s important to refrain. Try not to touch your face and ensure you maintain good hand hygiene, particularly while the pandemic continues.

‘However, there are some things contact lens wearers can try to help reduce the irritation. Contact lens-friendly eye drops can help to calm down any itchiness, and wearing prescription glasses – particularly wraparound sunglasses – can prevent pollen from getting into your eyes. Those suffering with hay fever could also try daily disposable lenses.’

But, it is not just eyes which are affected, as hay fever can also affect your ears.

Specsavers chief audiologist, Gordon Harrison, adds: ‘Allergic reactions can affect the lining of the middle ear via the Eustachian tube, which links the middle ear to the nose and throat. If this becomes blocked it can lead to a build-up in pressure, which can cause discomfort, popping in the ears, earache and impair your ability to hear.

‘To avoid irritation, try putting a balm like Vaseline around the nose to trap pollen, and vacuum and dust your home regularly, or you can try over-the-counter allergy relief. Staying inside when the pollen count is high will also help to avoid irritation, and showering and changing your clothes when you get home will help to remove pollen from skin and h

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