Are You A Hay Fever Early-Starter?

Shutterstock / Alex Cofaru © Pollen allergy, girl sneezing in a field of flowers;

With around 18 million of us suffering with hay fever in the UK, a good proportion will be ‘early-starters’. Their season starts in February or March when lots of trees release their pollen in to the air. Being an early-starter means you need to be prepared early so you can combat symptoms effectively. Airborne allergens expert and creator of HayMax allergen barrier balms, Max Wiseberg, provides some handy hay fever hacks to help take the misery out of this untimely condition…

“First of all, create your own first aid kit and take it with you everywhere. It’s easy! Just include one or more natural products, one antihistamine, one steroid nasal spray and eye drops. This can prove more effective than using just one of these on its own, and more and more sufferers are doing it. Obviously, ask your GP or pharmacist before combining treatments. And here are some handy hay fever hacks…”

“Your eyes are often the most vulnerable to pollen – itchy, watery eyes can make spring a real misery for the early-starter. Try wearing your contact lenses instead of your glasses. Some people have reported that contact lenses really help when they have sore or itchy eyes. And whatever you do, wear shades because they’ll help to relax the eyes and provide an extra barrier to the pollen.

Close up view of young woman putting contact lens in her eye

Pic: Shutterstock

“Helping to prevent pollen from getting in the eyes before it can do the damage can also help. Try using an organic allergen barrier balm designed to do just this. HayMax ( can be applied around the bones of the eyes, as well as around the base of the nostrils to help trap the pollen.

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“Rinse your eyes regularly with a saline eye wash to help flush away pollen.

“Your hair can cause problems too, as it’s great at trapping pollen. So wearing a cap or hat and tying up long hair while outside will also help.

“Be careful what you eat and drink, too. Drinking hot tea with lemon and honey first thing in the morning is said to activate movement of the nasal cilia, which helps prevent early morning sneezing with allergies or hay fever.

“Lentils, soya beans, peas, chick peas, beans, whole grains and tofu are high in zinc, which has an antibacterial and antiviral effect in the body and fosters immunity.

Organic Borlotti beans in tomato sauce with herbs close-up in a bowl on the table. horizontal top view from above ;

Pic: Shutterstock

“Natural decongestant effects may be found from spicy foods, garlic and horseradish; use with caution though, as they may also irritate the throat, resulting in excess mucus and cough.

“Avoid chocolate as this contains histamine, the chemical that sets off allergy symptoms in your body and drink responsibly. Reduce the amount of alcohol you drink. Beer, wine and spirits all contain histamine. In addition to making you more sensitive to pollen, alcohol also dehydrates you, making your symptoms seem worse.

“And avoid mucus-producing dairy drinks. Excess mucus is exactly what you don’t need if you suffer from hay fever. Instead, drink water, fruit tea, herb tea or any non-caffeinated tea.

tea brewer. cup of hot tea. women's hands pour tea.;

Pic: Shutterstock

“Go for the hottest curry on the menu – or if you’re making your own, go heavy on the spices. Turmeric, an orange-yellow spice, widely used in curries and South Asian cuisine, is believed to reduce inflammation caused by the enzyme phospholipase A2, which is provoked into action by pollen in your system. And make sure there’s lots of onions in too, as they contain quercetin, a natural anti-histamine, which blocks the effects of histamines. The best type are red onions, as they have the highest levels.”

Tasty butter chicken curry dish from Indian cuisine.;

Pic: Shutterstock


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Moira Chisholm

I'm the Health Editor on My Weekly and am always interested to hear what's new in this fascinating field. I also deal with the gardening, shopping pages, general features, our website content and the Ask Helen problem page. I have a special interest in Christmas content because I'm on the team for Your Best Ever Christmas Magazine, too!