Your lifestyle can affect how severe your hay fever symptoms are.
According to the charity Allergy UK, hay fever can adversely affect many areas of your life including your social life, your emotional wellbeing, your performance at work or school, and your self-esteem.
A survey undertaken by the National Pollen and Aerobiology Research Unit of more than 2,000 people with hay fever, found that lifestyle factors, such as stress and exercise, can have a major impact on hay fever.
Although there are many prescribed and over-the-counter treatments for hay fever, the following lifestyle tips can also help to ease the symptoms.
1. Reduce your stress
Try to reduce your stress levels. The survey showed a clear link between stress and the severity of hay fever symptoms. Almost seven out of 10 stressed-out hay fever sufferers rate their symptoms as unbearable or debilitating. As stress levels drop, symptoms become milder. For more information, read about stress management.
2. Exercise more
Regular exercise can improve your hay fever. The survey found that people with hay fever who exercise most have the mildest symptoms. Exercise will help reduce your stress levels, too.
Aim to do 150 minutes (two and a half hours) of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, such as cycling and fast walking, every week. However, during hay fever season, it's best to avoid exercising outdoors when the pollen count is high. This is generally first thing in the morning and early evening. Instead, exercise in late morning or afternoon when pollen counts tend to be lowest. If pollen counts are really high, stick to indoor exercise, for example at your local gym or swimming pool.
For more information and practical advice on exercise, read about getting fit.
3. Eat well
The survey suggests that people with hay fever who eat a healthy diet are less likely to get severe symptoms.
Eat a varied, balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables, but be aware than some healthy foods can make hay fever symptoms worse. Foods that can worsen hay fever symptoms for some people include apples, tomatoes, stoned fruits, melons, bananas and celery.
Eat foods rich in omega 3 and 6 essential fats which can be found in oily fish, nuts, seeds, and their oils. These contain anti-inflammatory properties, and may help reduce symptoms of hay fever.
Get more tips and information about eating healthily.
4. Cut down on alcohol
Watch how much you drink at your summer picnics and BBQs! Alcohol worsens hay fever. Beer, wine and spirits contain histamine, the chemical that sets off allergy symptoms in your body. As well as making you more sensitive to pollen, alcohol also dehydrates you, making your symptoms seem worse.
For more advice on how to cut down on your drinking, read these articles about alcohol.
5. Sleep well
Try to avoid too many late nights during the hay fever season. The survey found that people with hay fever who get a good night's sleep tend to have the mildest symptoms. Just one in eight (13%) people who had at least seven hours sleep a night reported severe symptoms, compared with one in five (21%) who regularly had five hours sleep or less a night.
For help getting a good night's sleep, read about sleeping better.
Read about treating hay fever.
Article provided by NHS Choices