Hay fever affects millions of people in the UK and is mainly caused by pollen, and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group is offering advice on how to minimise the symptoms for people who suffer from the condition.
Many of us will be spending more time outdoors with the arrival of Spring, either in our gardens or local parks, and suffers will soon start to feel the effects of itchy, red or watery eyes, a runny or blocked nose, sneezing fits, an itchy throat, mouth, nose and ears or a cough.
Dr Andrew Girdher, GP at Box Surgery advises: “The best way to control hay fever is with antihistamines and these can easily be bought from local pharmacies or supermarkets very cheaply and starting to take them now so they get into your system will really be of benefit.”
“Visiting a local pharmacy is your best option. You can speak to the pharmacist; who is an expert in medications and can advise you on the best treatment. They can also offer advice on how to avoid hay fever triggers. If the pharmacist feels that the problem is something different which might require a review with a GP, they will recommend this.”
Other ways to help reduce the effects of hay fever include:
- Wearing wraparound sunglasses when outdoors to protect the eyes
- Showering and changing your clothes after being outdoors will help stop the spread of pollen through your home
- Putting a small amount of petroleum jelly in your nose helps to trap pollen grains
- Keeping an eye on the weather forecasts and staying indoors to avoid going out when the pollen count is high
Dr Girdher added: “We are encouraging local residents to self-care and buy this low-cost medication themselves, as you do not need a prescription from your doctor, which can cost the NHS considerably more.”
“Self-care is an important part of keeping well and having a well-stocked medicine cabinet can help people, not just treat hay fever but also treat minor illness and injuries themselves, at home, without the need to see a GP.”
As well as your pharmacist, you can also get health advice through NHS 111 and the NHS choices website – www.nhs.uk