MILLIONS of people with hay fever fear being stuck indoors this summer because their symptoms could be mistaken for Covid-19, a study shows.
Research suggests 6 million hay fever sufferers are worried that people will think their sneezing and coughing is caused by coronavirus, forcing them to stay indoors.
The study, commissioned by Well Pharmacy, the UK’s largest independent pharmacy, also reveals sufferers feel that employers don’t take their condition seriously.
More than a third of people who have had to take time off work with hay fever have not given the real reason for their absence, as they don’t think it will be seen as a valid reason.
Ben Parker, Pharmacist from Well Pharmacy said: “With lockdown restrictions starting to lift this spring, more people will be gathering in groups outside. Symptoms can be severe, including headaches, blocked sinuses, shortness of breath, watering red itchy eyes, and even difficulty hearing, which can have a real impact on quality of life.”
In fact, symptoms seem to be lasting even longer according to the survey results, with a quarter (26%) of those with hay fever will struggle for over six months of the year, with the similar percentage suffering for four or five months. The survey of 2,000 hay fever sufferers shows that itchy, watery eyes (60%), sneezing (56%) and a runny nose (54%) are their most common symptoms.
Allergy Awareness Week, which runs from 26th April until 1st May, will focus on hay fever – a condition which affects around 10 million people in the UK. It makes the spring and summer an uncomfortable time and can cause more serious conditions in some people.
Ben Parker, Pharmacist from Well Pharmacy has compiled some top tips for hay fever sufferers from frequently asked questions in his pharmacy:
1. Focus specifically on the areas which need treatment. A lot of people aren't aware that you can use combination therapies - so eye drops, nasal spray and oral antihistamines all together.
2. Antihistamine tablets interact with some prescription medications. So, make sure you speak with your local pharmacist for advice before taking them if you are on a prescription.
3. Be wary that some antihistamine tablets can cause drowsiness. But there are non-drowsy one-a-day alternatives available too.
4. For under 18’s - change and wash clothes when you come back indoors after playing outside, this will reduce the amount of pollen spreading around the house. Antihistamines are available in the form of drops, tablets or liquid and some are safe for children.
5. Make sure you stay hydrated. Hot weather combined with fluid lost through tears and nasal secretions aren’t a good combination!
6. Consider drug free alternatives. Beeswax ointments and Vaseline in and around the nostril to help form a barrier that stops pollen getting in.
7. Check the pollen count before you leave the house. So you can protect yourself accordingly with the right combination of therapies.
Ben Parker, Pharmacist at Well added: “I would urge anyone who is still experiencing symptoms despite their treatment, to pop in to see their local pharmacist for a consultation about the best treatments to help them manage their symptoms better.
“As well as for advice on practical tips about how to minimise symptoms, such as washing hands frequently, keeping doors and windows closed when pollen counts are high, and avoiding alcohol.”
To shop Well Pharmacy’s range of treatments for allergies and hay fever, visit: https://shop.well.co.uk/category/cat_allergies_hayfever/products