Hayfever and COVID-19 – Wearing Face Masks is Crucial

What is Hayfever?

Pregnant woman in maskHayfever is a term commonly used to refer to cold-like symptoms usually caused by inhaling plant pollen during certain times of the year. If you are allergic to plant pollen and happen to breathe it

in, this causes the lining inside your airway to swell. This reaction is called inflammation. This inflammation often affects the eyes (conjunctivitis), nose (rhinitis), and the ears. Sometimes it can affect the lungs. Rhinitis is the inflammation of the lining inside the nose. Hayfever is also called Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis.

It usually happens during certain times of the year when different plants release their pollen. Allergic responses can be caused by many agents, and pollen is one of the most common allergens. In the UK, one in every four people are affected by hayfever and it is estimated that nine out of every ten people who suffer from hayfever are allergic to grass pollen. There are some people who suffer allergic responses from both grass and tree pollen and their symptoms can last for several months of the year.

In most cases, hayfever normally starts during childhood and frequently occurs at the same time each year. At times, hayfever symptoms are experienced throughout the year, this is called perennial rhinitis. Both perennial and seasonal rhinitis can cause the development of asthma. In people who suffer from asthma, untreated hayfever increases the probability of having severe asthma attacks during the pollen season. The best thing to do to avoid this kind of situation would be to buy a protective mask especially in times like these. A recommended supplier is Get Masked Up.

How to treat hayfever

1. Avoid being exposed to pollen in the air
2. Keep aware of the pollen count
3. Stay away from the countryside when the pollen count is elevated
4. Fully shut your car windows when travelling and make sure that there is a pollen filter installed in your car
5. Avoid going outdoors when the pollen count is elevated, for instance, when the air is warming in the morn and cooling during the evenings
6. Ensure your bedroom windows remain shut early morning and evening as the pollen concentration is usually high during such times
7. Conceal your pillow under bed covers throughout the day to avoid pollen settling on it when the windows are open
8. Keep your glasses on to protect your eyes from pollen when outdoors
9. Remember to wash your face and hair and also change your clothes when returning indoors if the pollen count is high
10. Apply Vaseline around your eyes and nose in order to trap pollen and prevent it from entering your eyes and nose
11. Make use of a nasal air filter
12. Perform nasal douching 

Hayfever and COVID-19

The coronavirus pandemic is colliding with the hayfever season. Around 44% of the coronavirus transmissions happen when people are asymptomatic. Since sneezing and coughing are the main ways of spreading the virus, it is crucial for those who suffer from hayfever and may have COVID-19 without knowing to properly manage their symptoms. Maintaining social distance and wearing a face covering is very important when in public places.

All the medications listed in our ENT UK Hayfever leaflet are allowed, except for oral or injected corticosteroids. This is because they can be immunosuppressive and you should avoid them at present when managing hayfever.

People who suffer from asthma need to ensure that they go on taking regular preventer inhalers. There can be confusion between the symptoms of coronavirus and hayfever – both can lead to cold-like symptoms. Ths symptoms of COVID-19 normally include dry cough, fever, and potentially sudden complete loss of smell. On the other hand, the symptoms of hayfever are irritant in nature causing sneezing and normally include eye symptoms but with no temperature.

If uncertain, you should isolate yourself and report your symptoms.

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