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Don’t let pollen get you down this season!

 

Try not to confuse hayfever symptoms with Coronavirus. Red, itchy and watery eyes, frequent sneezing with a blocked or runny nose are common symptoms of hayfever. Hayfever can trigger asthma symptoms leading to shortness of breath.

 

When hayfever hits it can make your day even more of a challenge.

 

Hayfever is a widespread allergic condition that affects up to one in five people at some point in their life1.  An allergy or allergic reaction is caused when the body becomes unusually sensitive to a particular substance, such as pollen, also known as ‘allergens’.  For a lot of people, these allergens cause no problems however for people who are sensitive to them, exposure to certain allergens causes the immune system to attack the allergen by releasing histamine and other chemicals into the body. 

 

Hayfever is one of the most common allergic conditions caused by tiny pollen particles coming into contact with the lining of the mouth, nose, eyes and throat causing irritation which activates the allergic reaction.  Hayfever is usually worse between late March and September, especially when it's warm, humid and windy. This is when the pollen count is at its highest, keep your eye on the weather reports as they usually tell you what the pollen count is for that day.

 

The pollen forecast is usually given as:

 

  • LOW: Fewer than 30 grains of pollen in every cubic metre of air
  • MODERATE: 30-49 grains of pollen in every cubic metre of air
  • HIGH: 50-149 grains of pollen in every cubic metre of air
  • VERY HIGH: 150 or more grains of pollen in every cubic metre of air

As there is no cure for hayfever at present, most people relieve their symptoms with treatment.  The best way to control an allergy is to avoid the triggers that cause it however it is hard to avoid pollen particularly during the summer.  Antihistamines are the usual treatment for the symptoms of hayfever and there are many over the counter products you can use to ease these symptoms. Many people get the best relief from hayfever using a combination of allergy medications, for example taking tablets as well as using an eye drop or nasal spray, will help to relieve all your hayfever symptoms. You may need to try a few different products before you figure out what works best for you.

 

Top tips to avoid being exposed to too much pollen*:

  • Avoid cutting grass, playing or walking in grassy areas
  • Wear wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen getting in your eyes when you are outdoors
  • Change your clothes and take a shower after being outdoors to remove the pollen on your body
  • Try to stay indoors when the pollen count is high (over 50)
  • Keep windows and doors shut in the house. If it gets too warm, draw the curtains to keep out the sun and keep the temperature down
  • Don't keep fresh flowers in the house
  • Vacuum regularly
  • Damp dust regularly. Dusting with a wet cloth, rather than a dry one, will collect the dust and stop any pollen from being spread around

We advise:

  • Start taking your chosen treatment before the season starts and continue to take it throughout
  • Avoid going outside at times of the day when the pollen count is high
  • You may need more than one product to control your hayfever symptoms. Many people get the best relief from hayfever using a combination of allergy medications for example taking tablets as well as using a nasal spray
  • Some hayfever products cause drowsiness. If you are taking a medicine which causes drowsiness, do not drive or operate machinery
  • Decongestant sprays and drops should be used for no longer than 7 days
  • Bathe the eyes regularly with an eye lotion to help soothe them

1NHS

 


Don’t get sun baked this summer!

 

We all need a little bit of sunshine, we can’t live without it; especially at a time like this, sunshine really brightens our day and intensifies our good mood.  Exposing your bare skin to the sun for short periods of time can actually be beneficial.  This is because the sun stimulates our production of vitamin D which is important for developing and maintaining healthy bones.

 

However, make sure the sun doesn’t become your enemy.  There are two wavebands of ultraviolet light in sunlight: UVA and UVB.

UVA rays cause premature ageing of the skin, as well as some burning.  

UVB rays cause most of the burning effect of sunlight.

 

It is the UV rays that penetrate deep into the skin and damage cells. These cells are then at risk of becoming cancerous.  You can’t feel UV damaging your skin and it happens even when the sun doesn’t feel hot.

 

You can get pleasure from the sun if you take precautions using sun creams.

There are two important ratings to consider when choosing a sun cream: Sun Protection Factor (SPF) and UVA star rating.

The SPF measures how much longer you are safe to stay in the sun, for instance, an SPF 30 sun cream allows you to stay in the sun for thirty times longer than if you were not using any protection. 

 

The star rating measures the amount of UVA protection, you should see a star rating of up to five stars on UK sunscreens and the higher the star rating the better.

 

Top tips for the prevention of sun-related skin problems:

  • Apply sun cream 30 minutes before sun exposure, with an SPF of 15 or more.
  • Repeat sun cream application every couple of hours.
  • Cover up with suitable clothing, sunglasses with UV protections and wide-brimmed hats.
  • Drink a lot of water - make sure you get at least 2 litres a day. Sweating, drinking alcohol and sun bathing all deplete your hydration levels making your skin appear dry and dull.
  • Applying sun cream should not be used as an excuse to stay out in the sun for longer periods of time. You should avoid direct sun exposure, if possible, between 11am and 3pm as these are the peak UV radiation hours, spend some time indoors or under umbrellas or trees.
  • Make sure you are familiar with any moles or freckles you have and perform regular skin self-checks so you will notice any changes. If you do notice any changes ensure you get these checked by a healthcare professional.
  • Take extra care with children.

Protect yourself and protect your family!    


Helping to take the stress out of your life!

 

We’re currently living through a very stressful time, and we know it can be hard to de-stress and relax.

 

Stress causes physical changes in the body designed to help you take on threats or difficulties. You may notice that your heart pounds, your breathing quickens, your muscles tense, and you start to sweat. This is sometimes known as the fight or flight response. 

 

However it is not just physical changes that stress can cause.  You may feel emotionally “wound up” or anxious, fearful and lacking in self-esteem or you could find yourself constantly worried with racing thoughts and difficulty concentrating or making decisions. 

 

Stress can have an impact on all aspects of your life even something as simple as sleeping and eating too much or too little. 

 

You cannot prevent stress but the NHS recommend the following things you can do to manage stress better*;

 

  • Be active - Exercise won't make your stress disappear, but it will reduce some of the emotional intensity that you're feeling, clearing your thoughts and letting you to deal with your problems more calmly.
  • Connect with people - A good support network of colleagues, friends and family can ease your work troubles and help you see things in a different way. 
  • Have some 'me time' - Here in the UK, we work the longest hours in Europe, meaning we often don't spend enough time doing things we really enjoy.
  • Challenge yourself - Setting yourself goals and challenges, whether at work or outside, such as learning a new language or a new sport, helps to build confidence. This will help you deal with stress.
  • Avoid unhealthy habits - Don't rely on alcohol, smoking and caffeine as your ways of coping. Over the long term, these crutches won't solve your problems.
  • Help other people - Evidence shows that people who help others, through activities such as volunteering or community work, become more resilient. If you don't have time to volunteer, try to do someone a favour every day.
  • Try to be positive - Look for the positives in life, and things for which you're grateful.  Try writing down three things that went well, or for which you're grateful, at the end of every day.
  • Accept the things you can't change - Changing a difficult situation isn't always possible. Try to concentrate on the things you do have control over.

For more things you can try to help with your stress visit; https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/understanding-stress/

 

*NHS.co.uk

 


 

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