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12 April 2016
Press release

Avoiding the misery of hay fever

At least one in five people in the UK suffer from hay fever and for those who do the coming months could be a miserable time. 

Hay fever is caused by an allergy to pollens. The effects of hay fever can range from being quite mild, to having serious effects on your normal daily life. Common symptoms include a runny, itchy or blocked nose, sneezing and itchy, red, swollen, watery eyes.

The peak season for hay fever is usually April to September. 

Dr Mark Shenton, a GP in Stowmarket and chairman of NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group said "The best way to control hay fever is with antihistamines. Starting to take them now so they get into your system will really be of benefit. Antihistamines are available from your pharmacy and if you've any questions remember your pharmacist can help you, particularly if you're already on medication."

Dr Christopher Browning, a GP in Long Melford and chairman of NHS West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group said: "There are some ways you can help protect yourself too. Wear wraparound sunglasses when outdoors to protect your eyes. By taking a shower and changing clothes after being outdoors you can help stop pollen spreading through your home. Keep an eye on the weather forecast and stay indoors if the pollen count is high. Finally, by smearing a small amount of Vaseline inside your nose you can prevent pollen settling on the lining of your nose."

You can be prepared for the effects of hay fever by listening to your local weather forecast, which will list the pollen count as being low, medium or high:
Low - A low count means that concentrations of pollen in the air will not be high enough to trigger hay fever for the majority of people
Moderate - A moderate count may mean symptoms for some sufferers, but they shouldn't be too severe
High - High and very high counts will cause suffering to most people with hay fever and can be used to judge when to take medication or avoid outdoor activity.

Visit www.nhs.uk for more information.

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