It is that time of year again, when the pollen is out, the sneezes start and the eyes stream. For a hay fever sufferer, it just isn’t fun. For a hay fever sufferer who works outdoors, well, I had to learn ways to cope with surviving and doing my job! (We won’t comment on the idiocy of someone with awful hayfever setting up an outdoor company!) From being in primary 6 and it suddenly hit one day, my mum being called to the school to collect me as my eyes had swollen closed, to throwing up into my handbag as an adult as the catarrh and coughing was so severe, it is fair to say my hayfever is pretty bad.
I thought I would share some tips today as it might just make others lives easier
This is one most people have heard of, but many do not do. Local honey is made from the pollen of local flowers. Local flowers could be causing your ha fever reaction. Therefore, eating some local honey can help. If you have not got it already, then track some down. Local health food shops, farm shops etc., will likely have some. A couple of spoonfuls a day can help.
Nettles for Tea
Nettle tea can also be helpful. You can buy nettle tea online from herbalists or health food shops; even Twinnings do one these days! But, if you follow safe foraging rules, you can collect your own nettles to make tea. The boiling water deal with the stingers, so you don’t need to worry about that. Wearing thick gloves, take a few of the top leaves before the nettles flower, pop it into your teapot and let it stew for 10-15 minutes. I like to add some honey to mine, but I do have a sweet tooth.
A little vaseline around my nostrils is also another quick help. I have to admit that I felt quite self-conscious about the first time I tried it, but it works. Similar products on the market smell nice and do the same job; they just cost a little more.
Hair and Specs
I always ensure I have my hair tied back when the pollen count is medium to high, and I am outdoors. As much as I love to wear it down, it attracts pollen. Which then is held close to my face, and we know the result of that. Wearing it back helps. As does wearing specs or sunglasses as they can stop as much getting to your eyes in the first place.
When I am home and not off camping (yes, it is possible to camp with hayfever), I sleep with the window closed. Again, it is simply to stop pollen from reaching me. I always notice a real difference if the window has been left open – it isn’t pretty!
Using Sterimar (there are other makes) nasal spray helps clear any pollen when I come in at night. I have to admit, I find it a little unpleasant, but it helps, so I deal with it.
At the end of every day, before I curl up and relax, I have a shower. This ensures all pollen and irritants are removed from my body. It is simple, but this is maybe one of the most impactful things I can do.
Washing Clothes, Towels and Bedding
This is a bit misleading as it isn’t the washing that is important but the drying. From Spring to Autumn, I will dry all my clothing, bedding and towels indoors. If I dry them outdoors, they can pick up a light coating of pollen, which I will wear, sleep on, or rub all over as I dry myself. None of that is beneficial. So I dry it all indoors.
Consult a Herbalist
Now, I know this one isn’t for everyone, but it has made a huge difference. Napiers Dispensary is a great source of knowledge for me, and their team are superb. They have a great hay fever tea that, if I recall correctly (I admit I make my own these days), includes nettle, plantain, chamomile, eyebright, etc.
The Herbal Remedy Handbook by Victoria Chown and Kim Walker also has a great recipe for Itchy-Eye Cooler Cubes but failing that, cool cucumber or chilled used tea bags can also soothe irritated eyes.
This is one to check with your doctor before you start, but I also find some vitamins and supplements help me. I increase my dose of vitamin C, take probiotics, MSM and quercetin, which all help. But as I say, take some advice on that one.
I am aware this might seem like an awful lot, certainly writing it out has been! But in reality, it is just part of my routine from mid-March onwards and really does not take much time and very little money. I work outdoors, so I need a way to manage it and the above combined with prescribed nose spray, eye drops and pills allow me to live my life.
But as I said, please do not trust a random blog you have found online. Take proper advice and work out what works for you.