Chairman of Warrington CCG and Chapelford GP Dr Dan Bunstone takes a look at how to prevent hayfever

I MAY be being optimistic when I say that spring has sprung, considering the icy weather we’ve experienced recently.

According to The Met Office, spring began last week, so it is a good time to start preparing for the warmer weather we’ve been looking forward to.

For some of us, spring brings the return of allergies.

An allergy is a reaction the body has to a particular food or substance.

Allergies are very common and they are thought to affect more than one in four people in the UK at some point in their lives.

Having an allergy can be a nuisance and affect our everyday lives, but most allergic reactions are mild and largely can be kept under control.

One of the most common allergies is grass and tree pollen – the allergy we know as hay fever.

Symptoms of hay fever include, sneezing and coughing, a runny or blocked nose, itchy, red or watery eyes, itchy throat, mouth, nose and ears, loss of smell, pain around your temples and forehead, headache, earache and feeling tired.

There’s currently no cure for hayfever and you can’t prevent it.

But you can do things to ease your symptoms when the pollen count is high.

To ease symptoms you can put Vaseline around your nostrils to trap pollen, wear wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen getting into your eyes, shower and change your clothes after you’ve been outside to wash pollen off, vacuum regularly and dust with a damp cloth.

Try to avoid cut grass or walking on grass, spending too much time outside when the pollen count is high, keeping fresh flowers in the house, smoking or being around smoke (it makes your symptoms worse) or drying clothes outside (they can catch pollen when in the open air).

A pharmacist can help with hayfever, they are your expert on the high street.

They can give advice and suggest the best treatments, like antihistamine drops, tablets or nasal sprays to help with itchy and watery eyes, sneezing and a blocked nose.

You can buy over the counter medicines for hay fever and keep them in your home medicine cabinet for when you need them.

So when it comes to allergies, be prepared and try to start treatment before the symptoms really get hold.