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Hay fever advice: The Journal's top 10 tips

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: April 25, 2014

Top 10 tips for battling one of Britain's most common allergies.

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The Journal is offering advice for beating the dreaded hay fever symptoms, one of the most common allergies that affects more than 10 million people. 

Exercising, eating and sleeping well and reducing your stress levels are all things that can help to alleviate hay fever symptoms. 

As well as this, reducing alcohol intake, avoiding smoking or secondhand smoke and washing your hair at night will all help beat the sniffles and itchy eyes. 

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Ian Wallace, a beekeeper who runs Quince Honey Farm in South Molton, said the pollen which causes problems was wood-born, from trees, grass or shrubs. 

It has long been said that eating local honey is an effective way to prevent hay fever. Mr Wallace said: “It is an old wives’ tale but it does have merit. 

“Honey contains pollen, not a huge amount, but some, so if you eat it throughout winter it may desensitise you. This is similar to a peanut allergy treatment where sufferers are administered with a tiny amount to desensitise them. 

“Some people swear by it, others don’t.” 

Mr Wallace added that the type of pollen which comes from the trees and grass may not be found in certain types of honey. 

“A scientific study of the effectiveness of honey would be needed to be certain,” he added. 

Diagnosed cases of hay fever have trebled in the past 20 years. 

 The Journal has collated together 10 top tips for beating hay fever, using NHS advice. 

 1. Reduce your stress levels. There is a link between stress and the severity of hay fever symptoms. 

2. Exercise. Regular exercise can improve your hay fever and reduces stress levels. Cycling or walking helps but it's best to avoid exercising outdoors when the pollen count is high, in early morning or early evening. 

3. Eat well. Those with a healthy diet are less likely to get severe symptoms. Plenty of fruit and vegetables help, but there are certain foods that can make hay fever symptoms worse, such as apples, tomatoes, stoned fruits, melons, bananas and celery. 

4. Reduce alcohol intake. Beer, wine and other spirits contain histamine, the chemical that sets off allergy symptoms in your body. Alcohol will also dehydrate you, which can make symptoms seems worse. 

5. Sleep well. Avoiding late nights and getting at least seven hours sleep reduces the severity of symptoms. 

6. Monitor pollen counts in your area, using the Met Office’s pollen forecast. 

7. Shower after going outdoors. Washing your hair and showering removes pollen from your skin and hair and prevents allergy attacks at night. 

8. Avoid smoking. Cigarette smoke, secondhand smoke and smoky environments can worsen symptoms. 

9. Ask your doctor to recommend medications. 

10. Allergy-proof your home. Keep windows closed when pollen counts are high and ensure to avoid mould building up in the kitchen and bathroom. Take a look at the state of household plants. Remove unnecessary furnishings like throw pillows and consider using synthetic pillows and putting allergy-free covers on mattresses. Banish pets from your bedrooms.

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