Some people may dismiss hay fever as a common condition that is a little bit of a nuisance – however, these are often people that don’t actually suffer from the condition. What they don’t realise is that it can be debilitating, affecting a person’s life for weeks – even months – at a time. We share some of the ways that hay fever can affect everyday life (that you might not have thought about)…
- Impact on physical health
According to Allergy UK, those who suffer from hay fever are 4 times more likely to experience other conditions such as eczema (the theme of this year’s Allergy Awareness Week) and food allergies. The same source also suggests that up to 40% of those with hay fever have (or will develop) asthma.
- Impact on mood and mental health
The symptoms of hay fever – which may include a runny, itchy or blocked nose; coughing and sneezing; red, itchy or swollen eyes; headaches; itchy skin; and fatigue – can also take their toll out on mental health. Hay fever sufferers even describe how they cannot relax and often experience low mood as a result.
Hay fever sufferers may experience low mood as a result of their symptoms
- Impact on productivity
Remember that great source we just mentioned – Allergy UK? Well, they also point to a decrease in productivity as a result of hay fever: “research has shown that as a result of ‘serious’ moderate-to-severe hay fever symptoms, sufferers reported four days off per year and a noticeable impact on productivity thirty-eight days per year.” It’s the same case in school – you might be shocked to find out that “GCSE students with hay fever symptoms are 40% more likely to drop a grade than those without”!
- Impact on sleep
You know when you’ve got a cough or cold, you lie in bed thinking about all the times that you were healthy and wonder why you took it for granted? Well, imagine that, but for weeks – sometimes even months – on end! Hay fever sufferers’ sleep can be dramatically impacted by the symptoms mentioned above. Top tip – shower before bed and change your clothes (as pollen can stick to your hair, skin and clothes) and try to sleep with the window shut. (If you’re interested, you can read all about the impact that London’s lack of sleep has on it’s productivity, here).
- Impact on driving
Did you know, a motorist that is travelling at 60mph can travel up to 50 feet blind whilst sneezing? Yikes! Ways to avoid sneezing while at the wheel include keeping your windows shut (to avoid pollen making it’s way into your vehicle) and wearing sunglasses – wrap around shades are even better.
- Impact on romance and relationships
To put it plainly, a running nose, swollen eyes and constant sneezing can make your feel unattractive and negatively impact your self-esteem. And all those symptoms – they make it very difficult to kiss your S/O.
- Impact on sociality
What you also may not realise is that hay fever can disrupt the daily routine of a sufferer. Activities like exercising outdoors can become a lot more difficult. What’s more, outside social events (such as picnics, BBQs, festivals etc.) can seem like very unappealing options, especially when something even as basic as talking can become hard!
Outside summer activities or social events, such as picnics, can seem like unappealing options when suffering from hay fever
So, the next time your colleague, housemate, friend or family member complains about their hay fever symptoms, hand them a tissue, offer them some sympathy, and tell them to check out some of our other articles, as we mark Allergy Week by sharing lots of information about hay fever and how it is best treated/ dealt with. They might also be interested in our hay fever treatment! Or our health bloggers top natural hay fever tips…
Natasha of Natasha Kundi tells us, “There are 3 things I swear by. A good nasal wash, hot strong black coffee and steam. You don’t have to use all of them together! If you are out and about or need to work on a deadline, then take an anti histamine. Don’t suffer in silence. I haven’t tried this but taking some local honey also helps.“
Lucy Bee suggests that “Lucy Bee Coconut Oil can double up as a natural hay fever treatment by working as a barrier cream. Simply spread a thin layer of our coconut oil inside the nostrils to help stop pollen from entering the nose and help stop those dreaded symptoms in their tracks.“
Click here for the full size version of our Hay Fever Infographic