As we delve deeper into the summer months for many this can mean watery, itchy eyes, sneezing fits and constant wheezing. Yes, for millions of people alongside the summer days comes the irritant that is hay fever. And with scientists predicting that this year will see more people suffering from the condition than ever, it’s surprising to find out there are still many things you just didn’t know about hay fever.
Here are 10 facts that may have passed you by, even if you feel the effects of hay fever on an annual basis.
1.) An estimated 25% of people suffer from hay fever in the UK
You certainly aren't alone if you are struck down by hay fever this summer. Around 16 million people are hit with the condition every year, and with predictions suggesting that this summer is going to be a bumper year for pollen, this figure could rise significantly.
2.) Hay fever, eczema and asthma are closely linked
Each of the three conditions are part of the umbrella term "atopy", which is used to describe the genetic tendency to develop classic allergic diseases.
3.) Hay fever is twice as common in towns and cities as it is in the countryside
It may come as a surprise to many, given the high pollen counts found in more rural areas, but more people actually suffer from hay fever in urban areas. This phenomenon is due to the fact that pollen particles bond themselves to the pollutants in the air - typically caused by exhaust fumes - and these combined particles are significantly more likely to set off the body's allergic reaction.
4.) There are different types of hay fever
Different types of pollen can affect different people at different times. The three main types are: tree pollen, grass pollen and weed pollen.
5.) Hay fever can be treated in a number of ways
Hay fever sufferers are often unaware of the range of preventative and remedial measures that can used to combat hay fever. Indeed, medications come in a number of different forms, including eye drops, tablets and nasal sprays - all of which have been shown to be highly effective.
6.) You needn’t wait for you GP to treat hay fever
Many people put up with debilitating symptoms of hay fever whilst waiting for a GP appointment. This can lead to periods of prolonged suffering, particularly in parts of the country where waiting times are high. However, there are a number of medications available over-the-counter without a prescription. Indeed, online pharmacies such as our own now offer hay fever medications that can be ordered from the comfort of your own home and delivered direct to your door.
7.) It runs in the family
Allergies like hay fever can be added to the list of things you blame your parents for giving you. Research has shown that if your parents suffer from allergies such as hay fever, there is an increased likelihood that you will suffer from the condition too.
8.) You cant blame the flowers for it
Contrary to popular opinion, pollen allergies can not be blamed on flowers. Pollen allergies are caused by airborne pollen - those that have been blown away from the plant itself. Pollen from flowers tends to be coated and sticky - in order for it to become attached to bees and other insects that aid in fertilisation - which means flowers usually produce little to no airborne pollen.
9.) Sunglasses could help
It may seem simple, but many people don’t think to pop on their sunglasses as a way of stopping pollen from getting into their eyes. Wraparound sunglasses can be particularly effective at keeping those airborne nasties away from your eyes.
10.) No one knew hay fever existed 200 years ago
in 1819 John Bostock, a Liverpool-born London doctor, first produced a paper on the condition called ‘Case of a Periodical Affection of the Eyes and Chest’ which was based on his own experience of the allergy. This marked the beginning of the recognition that hay fever was in fact a real condition.
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