How To Manage Hay Fever Symptoms Whilst Outdoors
The arrival of hay fever season can be off-putting if you usually suffer from a cluster of symptoms, but that’s not a reason to stop spending time outdoors!
Updated: Wednesday 17 May 2023
There are a plethora of reasons why you may be spending time outside: festivals, camping, holidays, picnics in the park or even spending time in your garden!
But if you are one of the 13 million people in the UK affected by hay fever, you might not be feeling as excited…
Experiencing a runny nose, itchy eyes or headaches can put you off wanting to spend time in the sun altogether - but we’re here to tell you that this doesn’t have to be the case.
Here are some handy tips to keep your hay fever symptoms at bay so you can focus on the important stuff - making summer memories you can cherish (that don’t involve thousands of sneezes!).
Whether it’s by a campfire with family or at a festival with your friends, here are some things to keep in mind if camping is part of your summer plans. Buying a tent with a porch area will provide you with ample space to change out of clothes covered in pollen, so your sleeping area is kept pollen free - helping you sleep better! In addition, remember to keep your doors closed to prevent pollen from invading your tent!
- Sunglasses & hats
Not only are they great for protecting your eyes from the sun, but they also serve as protection for your eyes and nose against pollen, making it less likely that you’ll experience watery eyes and sneezing fits!
- Use coconut oil or vaseline
Confused? Don’t worry, you won’t be for long. Lining your nostrils with a layer of coconut oil or vaseline can help to reduce the number of pollen particles entering your nose by forming a protective barrier.
- Take note of the pollen count
Looking ahead at the pollen forecast for the area your activity is taking place in will allow you to gauge how bad your symptoms are likely to be, and therefore how many extra precautions you’ll need to take. You’ll also be able to find out which specific type of pollen (weed, grass and tree) may be more prevalent, as well as the spores that could have an impact on your hay fever symptoms.
- Keep an eye on the weather
Similar to pollen forecasts, taking note of the weather forecast before heading outdoors can give you a fighting chance of beating hay fever symptoms, as weather can drastically alter the impact pollen may have on you. The pollen count is usually higher on windy days when the air is warm but dry as pollen is swept into the air and dispersed. On cool days with rain, the pollen count is often lower as the moisture weighs down the pollen grains.
- Stay hydrated
You should always try to drink plenty of water, particularly during summer when the weather is warmer. In regards to hay fever, drinking water may help to relieve hay fever symptoms such as a blocked nose or sore throat, but it should be noted that drinking water also thins mucus membranes that may be causing blockages in your sinuses.
- Shower daily
It’s recommended that you shower in the evening or after being outdoors as a way of thoroughly removing any pollen that has nestled into your hair, skin and clothes. This will help to reduce hay fever symptoms and allow you to get a much better night's sleep! If you don’t have access to a shower, regularly wiping your skin with body wipes will help remove pollen grains too.
This one is crucial - don’t forget to bring enough medication to last the duration of your event (plus some extra ones just in case!). Keeping your hay fever medication in a designated pack or pouch is a good way of keeping all your treatments safe and in one accessible place. Additionally, some people may find it beneficial to begin taking hay fever treatments several days before their planned outdoor event, or even as hay fever season begins.
What hay fever medications are available?
There are a range of effective hay fever treatments for controlling symptoms of hay fever (allergic rhinitis) that can be taken with you on-the-go.
These medications relieve hay fever symptoms by targeting and halting the production of histamine in the body that initiates an allergic reaction to pollen - thus stopping the onset of hay fever symptoms. These often come in tablet form, and some of the most popular medications are Piriteze and Clarityn, which require one tablet to be taken daily. Other effective hay fever treatments include branded Telfast or Allevia (generic Fexofenadine).
Corticosteroids are another treatment for hay fever symptoms, most commonly in the form of nasal sprays that treat hay fever symptoms by reducing inflammation and irritation inside your nasal passages. The most effective treatments include branded Beconase Nasal Spray (generic Beclometasone) and branded Nasonex (generic Mometasone) but Clarinaze Allergy Control Nasal Spray and Pirinase Allergy Nasal Spray are also popular alternatives.
If you’re looking for a medication to specifically treat hay fever symptoms affecting the eyes, an anti-inflammatory eye drop solution such as Sodium Cromoglicate 2% w/v Eye Drops would be most suitable. This eye drop solution belongs to a group of medications known as mast cell stabilisers, which block the production of histamine from mast cells. They treat hay fever differently to antihistamine medications.
Ultimately, one of the most effective ways of staying on top of hay fever symptoms this summer is to understand how hay fever affects you individually, and to prepare for the arrival of hay fever season early - so make sure you read our ultimate guide to beating hay fever.