WITH warmer weather on the horizon, bringing with it the year’s first high pollen levels, a local Hyde opticians is offering tips to help hay fever sufferers keep itchy and irritated eyes at bay even when their allergies flare-up.
Hay-fever is a growing problem, with more than 16 million people in Britain (one in five) currently suffering from hay fever and this figure is expected to almost double over the next 20 years.
To coincide with the start of hay fever season, Nina La Rosa, Specsavers Hyde optometrist store director, is offering simple tips to help sufferers reduce their symptoms.
Nina says: ‘Although staying inside will help to reduce symptoms, we understand this isn’t a practical or appealing option for most people during the summer.
‘However, a few simple tricks can help to minimise the amount of pollen that comes into contact with your eyes while you are outside. Wearing wraparound glasses or sunglasses will help keep pollen away from your eyes. If you have a fringe, keep it off your face, as it will catch pollen and drop it into your eyes.’
The hay fever season usually begins around mid-March with tree pollen blooming until May. However, this year the pollen season has been delayed by cold weather, meaning that trees are likely to release their pollen at the same time and cause a sudden spike in hay fever symptoms, such as itchy eyes and sneezing.
Nina adds that the number one rule for hay fever sufferers is to never rub or scratch your eyes. ‘This really will only aggravate the effects of the allergic reaction further,’ she says.
‘You also don’t want to be caught out on the day you start to suffer. Stock up now on your usual eye drops if you know that your eyes are sensitive to pollen.
‘If you’ve suffered from hay fever for years and have a good idea of when it is likely to kick in, you can begin to use eye drops a couple of weeks in advance. Inflammation caused by airborne pollens can considerably be reduced by doing this.
‘It’s important to point out that you shouldn’t use eye drops while wearing soft contact lenses unless they are specifically formulated for that purpose. If you have any doubt about which drops are suitable then speak to your optician.’
Hay fever sufferers who are outside between 10:30am and 3:30pm will suffer the strongest symptoms. This is when the highest pollen count is. For more information about Allergy UK visit www.allergyuk.org
To book your appointment at Hyde Specsavers visit www.specsavers.co.uk/stores/Hyde