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The hay fever season will soon begin – some useful health advice

With hay fever usually worse between March and September local health care professionals are offering useful advice to those who suffer from a hay fever allergy.

Although there is no cure for hay fever and you cannot prevent it there are actions you can take to ease the symptoms, which include a runny, itchy or blocked nose, sneezing and itchy, red and watery eyes.

Dr Hasan Chowhan, a GP in Colchester and chairman of NHS North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “It’s reckoned that one in five people suffer from hay fever, so the coming months may be an uncomfortable time for many. Unfortunately, it isn’t like a cold that will go away after a few days. Instead, those susceptible to hay fever may have to live with it for months on end, but there are things you can do to make the situation easier.”

Dr Christopher Browning, a GP in Long Melford and chairman of NHS West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “One of the best ways to control hay fever is with antihistamines, which you can buy without prescription from the pharmacy. Start taking them now so they can get into your system. Taking antihistamines regularly is much more effective than taking them only when your symptoms are bad.

“You don’t need a prescription for hay fever medicine, so I would recommend patients with hay fever symptoms to make their pharmacy the first place to go for help and advice.”

Professor Mark Shenton, a Suffolk GP and chairman of the NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “There are actions you can take to help protect yourself from hay fever symptoms. Wear wraparound sunglasses to protect your eyes. Taking showers and changing your clothes after being outdoors helps prevent pollen spreading around your home. Staying indoors when the pollen count is high and smearing a small amount of Vaseline inside your nose helps to prevent pollen settling on the inside of your nose.”

Tania Farrow, Pharmacist and Chief Officer of Suffolk Local Pharmaceutical Committee, said: “You can help to reduce the severity of hay fever symptoms by speaking to your local community pharmacy early on this spring. Community pharmacy staff are fully trained on all the products available and the best way to help you manage your symptoms so you can make the most of the warmer weather as it continues to improve.’’
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