Unsettled weather during the summer can play havoc with hay fever symptoms.
The summer months have been up and down this year, with warm temperatures often followed by days of heavy rain. Each time the sun does come out, pollen levels increase dramatically, and this can be hard to deal with for anyone with allergies.
"Hay fever is the most common allergy in the UK affecting up to half of the population according to a new survey this year," says Airborne allergens expert of HayMax allergen barrier balms, Max Wiseberg.
"This current unsettled weather means that pollen levels are all over the place and are as difficult to predict as the weather!"
Here, Max offers some practical top tips for hay fever sufferers to help them get through the current pollen explosion:
Create a Hay Fever First Aid Kit
"Include one antihistamine, one nasal spray, and eye drops. The interesting thing about this is that many of these remedies can be complementary to each other. So if one helps, but doesn't do the whole job, you may be able to try other remedies at the same time and get a better result," Max says.
Max adds you must never take two anti-histamines together or two steroid nasal sprays together, and he advises you consult your pharmacist or doctor if you are already taking any other medication.
Keep allergens out of the home
"Vacuum the house regularly, especially beds and fabrics to remove pollen particles," he says. "Close windows and use an air conditioner preferably with a HEPA (High Efficiency Particle Arresting) filter to capture the pollen particles. Wash bedding very regularly to remove allergens."
Keep allergens off your clothes and body
"Wear wraparound sunglasses when outdoors to prevent pollen particles coming in contact with your eyes and tie your hair up and wear a hat to prevent pollen particles being caught in your hair," Max advises. "Wash your face as soon as you get indoors to wash away allergens so that they can't cause a reaction. Dry clothes indoors rather than on a clothesline to prevent pollen being blown onto them by the outside wind."
Get a good sleep
"Quite a lot of life's problems seem less problematic after a good night's sleep, and it really can help manage your hay fever symptoms," he reveals. "An NPARU study showed that people who slept at least seven hours a night suffered significantly milder symptoms than those who slept no more than five hours each night."
Max also advises showering each night before bed to remove pollen particles from your hair and body.
"Use an organic, drug-free allergen barrier balm such as HayMax around the nostrils and bones of the eyes in the morning, throughout the day and at night to trap more than a third of pollen before it enters the body," he added.
"Try to do two and a half hours of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise every week," he says.
Moderate activities include fast walking, cycling, water aerobics, or gardening jobs such as mowing the lawn.
"Obviously you should avoid exercising - or even being - outdoors when the pollen count is highest, generally first thing in the morning and early evening," Max added. "If the pollen count is really high, take your exercise indoors, for example on your exercise bike. The lawn can wait!"