AS Sussex braces itself for a predicted high pollen count this summer, the NHS is advising the public to turn to their pharmacies for hay fever advice and treatment.
Pollen counts are predicted to be ‘very high’ across the UK this week before the country is hit by thunderstorms – which may bring problems for hay fever sufferers.
Hay fever is a common allergic condition that affects up to one in five people. Symptoms include a runny nose, sore and itchy eyes, coughs and sneezes, headaches and tiredness.
An NHS Sussex spokeswoman said: “The predicted high pollen count could impact hay fever sufferers. The good thing is that hay fever and allergy medicine is easy to obtain without the need for a prescription from your GP.
“Pharmacists are trained and available on a walk-in basis to give advice on the best ways to treat symptoms, and help you choose the most appropriate treatment. They can provide effective over-the-counter medicines right there and then.
“Your local pharmacy should always be the first point of call for dealing with issues such as hay fever. If your symptoms suggest it’s more serious, they’ll ensure you get the care you need.”
There are also self-care remedies to help manage hay fever and allergy symptoms at home, these include:
- Taking over the counter antihistamines
- Putting Vaseline around your nostrils to trap any pollen
- Wearing wraparound sunglasses
- Avoiding triggers where possible, such as grassy areas and flowers
- Keeping your clothes and house clean to remove any pollen
- Buying a pollen filter for the air vents in your car and a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter
- Be aware of the pollen count and on high pollen count days (often warmer days) take steps to minimise exposure such as keeping windows closed in your house, office or car
- Identify your allergens and triggers and take measures to avoid them. Keep a record of when these triggers are most troublesome and make sure to take effective medication early.
The NHS also advice visiting a GP or calling NHS111 if you are experiencing wheezing, breathlessness or tightness in the chest, if pregnant or breastfeeding and symptoms don’t improve after avoiding triggers, or if your symptoms don’t improve after taking over-the-counter medicines.
A&E and 999 should only ever be used for serious emergencies such as anaphylactic shock, suspected heart attack or loss of consciousness, the NHS spokeswoman added.