Hay Fever

Summer is upon us and whilst some of us are deciding on what factor sun screen to use, others are considering what antihistamines to take. It is estimated that around 10 million people in the UK suffer from hay fever. Some of the symptoms associated with hay fever may include a runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes, and an itchy throat. 

Although hay fever isn’t a life threatening illness it can still cause discomfort and impact your day to day life. Depending on the severity of your allergy some people will try and limit their exposure to pollen, i.e. by keeping the windows closed in the summer months, wearing wraparound sunglasses so the pollen can’t come in to contact with their eyes, some may have a pollen filter fitted to their car air con and others will even try and avoid leaving their house altogether when the pollen count is really high.

Unfortunately there is no direct cause or cure for hay fever and anyone can be allergic to pollen at any point in their lives, although it usually begins during childhood or in their teenage years.

There are a number of treatments that people can have to relieve their symptoms. Antihistamines such as Piriton, Clarytin and Benadryl are all popular over the counter medications that you can use to relieve hay fever. For those of us with more severe symptoms, a trip to the doctor may be in order as you may need some prescription medication.

Don’t let your summer be spoilt by hay fever. Get down to your local pharmacy for more help and advice on how to relieve your hay fever symptoms!

Food Allergies

Not a day goes by or even a few hours when we don’t think about food. For many of us the idea of going out for dinner is an exciting thought but for some of us it can be a daunting experience! Do they cater for my dietary needs? Do they have a gluten free option? These are just a couple of the questions someone with a food allergy might ask themselves. 

There are 8 main foods that account for the majority of allergic reactions and these are:

  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Peanuts
  • Tree Nuts
  • Fish
  • Shellfish
  • Wheat
  • Soy

An allergic reaction to these foods can involve; stomach cramps and bloating, hives, shortness of breath, swelling of the tongue and anaphylaxis. Because of the severity of some of these reactions the most effective way to treat such food allergies is to avoid them at all costs. A reaction such as anaphylaxis will almost certainly warrant a trip to the hospital.

Similar to hay fever you can treat mild food reactions with antihistamines and for more serious allergic reactions can be treated with an epinephrine injection.


Other Allergies

Allergies are not only triggered by pollen or food but they can also be triggered by mould, pet hairs, venom (bee stings) and latex along with other materials. Allergic diseases cost the NHS a whopping £900million a year!

There are preventative ways in which you can limit your exposure to such allergy triggers. If you have mould in one or more of your house hold pet allergiesrooms then once the mould has been dealt with invest in a de-humidifer to reduce the moisture in the room. If you have an allergy to pet hairs then it is possible that you won’t have a pet yourself, but if you are visiting someone who does have a pet then take an antihistamine before you visit that person and ask if they wouldn’t mind removing the pet from the room which you are going to be in.

If you are having a day out and are allergic to bee stings then be vigilant. Try to stay away from flowers that particularly attract wasps and bees. And avoid wearing brightly coloured clothes and strong perfumes because these will attract unwanted visitors. If a bee or wasp do come close to you STAY CALM and walk away slowly. The last thing you want to do is aggravate a bee!

For further information on allergies visit www.allergyuk.org