Hayfever is caused by a reaction to the tiny pollen particles. As they come into contact with the eyes, nose and throat, the body perceives them as a potential infection, so it reacts in much the same way that it would if it was being attacked by a virus. The immune system kicks into gear and releases histamines to prevent the spread of the “infection”, this reaction manifests itself as a runny nose and watery eyes.
While scientists are not fully clear on why the immune system reacts like this, it is worth remembering that there are a number of factors which can increase the likelihood of developing hayfever;
The vast majority of people who suffer from hayfever are mainly allergic to grass pollens, which appear from May – July, however an increasing number of people are also affected by tree and weed pollens. There are approximately 30 types of pollen that can cause hayfever, and it is possible to be allergic to more than one. It is a good idea to check your local pollen forecasts to determine which pollens you react to the most, so that you can prepare in advance. Generally:
Tree pollen starts late March through to mid-May
Grass pollen starts mid-May through to July
Weed pollen starts end of June through to September
However, this is all dependant on the weather, particularly whether it has been raining. Wetter weather helps to wash pollen away, whereas windy weather helps the pollen to move around more.
Studies have found that 70-90% of asthmatics suffer from hay fever and around 50% of hay fever sufferers have asthma. When the immune system releases histamines to cope with pollen, the nose, eyes, throat, and sinuses become inflamed. This aggravates asthma symptoms and causes tightening of the chest and difficulty breathing.
There are many ways to manage the allergy season so that it doesn’t ruin your summer;
- Stock up on antihistamines
- Keep windows closed during the mornings when pollen is at its highest levels
- Hang washing inside to prevent it collecting allergens
- Regularly hoover carpets and floors
- Use natural cleaning products
- Invest in a high quality mattress protector
If you would like to find out more about how mattress protectors can help you to minimise allergies in your home, get in touch with our experienced, knowledgeable staff by calling 020 8731 0020 or email us via the Contact Us page.
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