Hayfever: When You Hate Flowers

I love flowers. I really do. Daffodils are my favourite. They remind me of Easter, Spring and, most significantly, my birthday. 🙂

But as much as I love a bunch of yellow blooms in my home, I cannot abide a walk in a meadow, a stroll in a farmer’s field or even a few ciders at Glastonbury.

The reason?

Hayfever.

Hell in flower form.

It all started when I was 16 and doing my GCSE exams. It must have been around April/May/June time. My eyes were red raw and itchy to hell. It was awful. It absolutely troubled my exam period. I was having difficulty sleeping and my eyes, god they hurt so much from rubbing. It was really horrible.

I went to Boots and was recommended Piriton. It had zero effect. In the meantime, my eyes were streaming and my nose was constantly running. Ask anyone who suffers from hayfever and they will tell you, it is nothing like a cold! It is much, much worse.

Fast forward about five years and I had learned a little more about hayfever. For me, it was at its worst during April – May. I now know that the pollens I must be allergic to are grass pollens. These are the ones most predominant during this time of year and in fact, nine out of ten hayfever suffers are allergic to grass pollen.

Pollen Calendar From Natural Doc

Pollen Calendar From Natural Doc

Experiences

There are a few bad hayfever experiences that stick in my memory. All of them have been when I have been away from home, in a new environment. I am now very selective about when and where we go away!

Norfolk Broads Spring 2002

This was my first hayfever on tour experience. Sailing around the broads with my family, my eyes started to feel itchy and my throat was one fire. Not literally, but it may as well have been. As a consequence, I had to sit ‘below’ deck, reading and keeping out of the air, for most of the trip. Not a great way to spend a holiday.

Glastonbury 2005

This was my worst ever hayfever experience. And I suppose it should come as no surprise. Fields. A new environment and the height of summer. Couple that with a load of drinking, late nights, kipping in a tent and you it’s no surprise hayfever reared its ugly head.

It was so bad at one point, that I had to sit on the first aid bus. How sad is that? All they could give me were tablets, which were no help. My eyes were reduced to slits and my throat was so itchy and dry, I wanted to ram my hand down there to scratch it. Needless to say, hayfever spoilt my experience and I have’t been back since.

Noel Gallagher 2015

Before Hayfever Hell Hit Me

Before Hayfever Hell Hit Me

Hmmm…. ok, well I didn’t learn my lesson completely. Last year, we went to see Noel Gallagher (and some other acts) perform in Hyde Park. All was going well, until the familiar burning and itchy sensation returned to my eyes. Noooo! It was back! All I could do was drink loads of water (and then queue forever at the toilets) and just ruck it out. I did have some big sunglasses with me (it helps!), which provided some relief, but once again an outdoor experience was ruined by hayfever.

Why do I have to have hayfever and psoriasis? The two both cause itching and redness. They must be linked, right?

Psoriasis and Hayfever

Over the course of this learning period was when I discovered the delights of psoriasis. Initially, I thought they could be linked. Maybe the hayfever was a kind of side effect of psoriasis? Or maybe it was the other way around?

After a bit of research, I found that although hayfever and psoriasis both cause inflammation of tissue, they are not linked. Psoriasis is an auto-immune, chronic disease. Hayfever is an allergy. If psoriasis was an allergy, we could simply take the tablets and forget about it. Well, as best one can forget about an allergy. But naturally, things are not as simple as that. The skin disease, psoriasis, needs treating. And because psoriasis is such a tricky trickster – we constantly have to review our meds. What worked one month, may not work the next. 

Hayfever: The Cure

I still have hayfever, but now I control it through Boots One a Day Hayfever relief tablets. I went through a lot of trial and error to find out what worked for me and found that the active ingredient I need is Loratadine, which is found in these Boots tablets.

The other ‘main’ hayfever ingredient that could help you if Loratadine doesn’t, is Cetirizine. You can find that in Benadryl, amongst others. 

Advice

If you are just starting to suffer from hayfever, I suggest you check out the NHS advice online. I do recommend the Boots tablets, and they should start working in the first few days. You only need one a day! If you have no luck after a week, try Cetirizine. Remember though, what works for me, may not work for you! Be careful and speak to your GP before you start doing anything.

In the meantime, consider these tips to help reduce the pain of hayfever.

Honey: I have found the old wives’ tale of eating local honey has helped. Well, I suppose you never know for sure if it has worked, but when I moved to a new area, I made sure I bought some local honey. From about January, I introduced a couple of teaspoons a day into my diet (straight from the jar – yum!) and I am sure it has helped – I didn’t even get any hayfever symptons until end of May, whereas usually, they kick in around April time.

Pets: Whilst we are on the subject of honey (the name of our cat!) – watch out for pets, who will bring in pollen when they come in from the garden. Where possible, I give Honey a rub down with a tea towel to try and get the worst off – and she is banned from the bedroom during the spring months!

Windows: For me, hayfever hits bad during the morning and evening, when the temperature goes up and down. Keep windows closed during this time, so pollen doesn’t come into your home.

Sunglasses: Not a joke! Sunglasses really help. They keep the pollen away from your eyes. Make sure you pack a couple of cheap pairs if you’re going to a festival, in case you lose one pair.

Tissues: You can never, never have too many tissues. Pack some extra soft ones for your poor little nose and eyes!

Mascara: Forget wearing mascara. It’s just another thing to deal with and could irritate your eyes further. If you’re wearing shades, no-one will notice anyway.

Water: My last piece of advice is drink lots of water. I relieves your throat itch and helps rid it of any pollen that might have been inhaled.

Have you got both psoriasis and hayfever? What advice would you offer? Let me know in the comments 🙂