Pollen counts are high at the moment - here are some top tips to help you manage your allergies

Leitrim Observer Reporter


Leitrim Observer Reporter

Vital people in Tipperary check out essential daily Pollen Tracker during hot spell - Asthma Society

Vital people in Tipperary check out essential daily Pollen Tracker during hot spell - Asthma Society

This week, Met Éireann has forecast the pollen count as very high, with grass, weed and fungal spores currently airborne. 

According to a new research report from healthcare company, Scope, 30% of Irish adults have taken leave from work due to their allergies in the past year. 

In the first report of its kind, the Scope Gut Health Index reports that Irish people’s general mood (35%) and sleep (28%) are most affected by their allergies. With this, there can be additional knock-on effects including sleep interruptions and low-levels of general mood, daytime fatigue and even decreased productivity.

Almost 20% of people said that their allergies have affected their participation in outdoor activities, which is a 33% increase from the last survey in 2017. This shows that not only are allergies more prevalent than before, they are also increasingly affecting people’s day-to-day lives. 

The Scope Gut Health Index also reveals that while allergy season affects 4 in 10 people, 1 in 3 people do not use medications to treat their allergies. When asked about how they treat their allergy symptoms, 19% of people said that they have “tried everything”, while 81% said that they are unaware of what products can help to alleviate their allergy symptoms.

Éva Hill-Hamilton, nutritionist at Scope, shares her top 10 tips to combat allergies during this high pollen season.

1. Cutting out pro-inflammatory foods like processed meats, sugary drinks and trans-fats

Try replacing the pro-inflammatory foods with anti-inflammatory essential fats and antioxidants from the likes of green leafy vegetables, blueberries, pineapple, salmon, herbs and spices.

2. Improve your gut health

Hayfever is associated with an oversensitive immune system, of which 70% is located in the gut and influenced by the diversity of our gut flora. To help boost your immune system and rebalance your gut flora, Bio-Kult offer a full range of multi-strain live bacteria supplements. There are five to choose from, including one for infants. It is recommended to take Bio-Kult Advanced one month before the pollen count gets to its highest level, but with the pollen count marked as very high, it’s never too late to start.

3. Reduce incidence of pollen entering your home

To ensure pollen exposure is reduced when entering your home, remove and wash your clothes. This will control the pollen level in your home. Also, if you have pets, refrain from letting them enter your bedroom as the pollen may transfer from your pet onto your bed which is a recipe for a bad night’s sleep!

4. The composition of our natural gut flora can fluctuate in response to external factors such an antibiotic, leading to negative changes. Disturbances of normal bowel function can prompt symptoms such as bloating and intestinal pain to occur. So, it’s important to take a probiotic on an ongoing basis, especially during and after a course of antibiotics to set the balance right again.

5. Consider using eye drops

Eye drops like HYLO Dual can also provide symptomatic relief for people suffering with hay fever, but we recommend working on a prevention method than struggling with allergy symptoms. Our advice is to optimise your Vitamin D levels and the diversity of your gut flora throughout the year, that way, you can enjoy summertime in all its glory.

6. Try a cup of herbal tea instead of caffeinated drinks

Herbal teas like nettle or liquorice and peppermint with natural antihistamine properties are also good at reducing inflammation. Caffeine can often make symptoms worse, so maybe swap your daily coffee with chamomile tea which is a natural anti-inflammatory and antihistamine.

7. Check your Vitamin D levels

Vitamin D can activate certain regulatory immune system cells that prevent the release of chemicals which can cause and even worsen allergies. So, a deficiency in vitamin D may inhibit this regulatory process, leading to either worsening allergies, or even as a trigger for the allergies. The simple addition of a Vitamin D supplement to the diet can be really beneficial during allergy season.

8. Incorporate natural sources of antihistamines in your diet

The natural antihistamines found in cauliflower, grapes, green tea and vitamin C from orange, lemon, peppers can help ease symptoms without any side effects.

9. Stay hydrated

Make sure to stay hydrated when suffering from allergies. When your body is dehydrated, it can produce higher histamine levels which actually worsens allergies. Typically, in Ireland, we are advised to drink approx. 8 glasses of fluid per day to prevent dehydration.

10. Try to identify triggers

Make a note of how frequent you suffer from allergies. If you can identify triggers and stimulants, it will make life a lot easier when you understand the condition and what is best to avoid.