How to Feel Free of the Tree Pollen this Spring

March to May is peak tree pollen season and this can be one of the worst times of year if you suffer with hay fever. However, there are some simple things you can do to help during this time. Airborne allergens expert Max Wiseberg gives his top tips.

Understanding which types of pollen you are allergic to can help you to plan your allergy management better,” explains Max. “There are two main types of pollen which affect hay fever sufferers in the UK – grass pollen and tree pollen. Tree pollen starts in February and peaks in March to May depending on which pollen you’re allergic to.

In March alder, hazel, elm and willow in are peak season. In April it’s elm, willow, birch, ash, plane and oak. And in May birch, plane and oak are still in peak season.

There is currently no cure for hay fever, but there are many products on the market, both natural and conventional, which seek to reduce the effects of pollen or limit the symptoms. There are also many practical things you can do when outdoors and around the home to limit the amount of pollen getting in your body – less pollen, less reaction!

Hay fever is a result of our immune system’s overreaction to innocuous particles such as pollen. The body reacts by producing histamines. Normal amounts of histamines are good – they keep us alert, attentive and awake. But, when there are too many, they cause hay fever symptoms.

Antihistamine medicines combat this reaction by blocking the action of the histamine, which works well for some people and is one of the most popular methods of treating hay fever. Some people find that the particular antihistamine they have chosen or been prescribed stops working after a while, or never worked particularly well in the first place. If this is your experience, don’t give up: there several available so it’s worth trying another. The more commonly available hay fever antihistamines are acrivastine, cetirizine, chlorphenamine, desloratadine, fexofenadine and loratadine.”

There are many plants and herbs that may help. Aloe Vera has mild antihistamine properties whilst ginger and green tea also work as natural anti-histamines. Peppermint reduces congestion. Ginkgo biloba is thought to decrease the body’s response to allergens while also increasing energy levels and circulation. Horseradish is a pungent root vegetable which acts as a decongestant, helping to clear nasal passages. Liquorice root can ease inflammation and redness in the nose and is also believed to have anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties that can help boost the body’s immune response to hay fever. Turmeric contains curcumin, which has been found to have anti-allergy properties.

Use an allergen barrier balm applied to the nostrils and around the bones of the eyes in the morning, throughout the day and at night to help stop pollen getting in the body. HayMax organic drug-free allergen barrier balm has been proven to trap more than a third of pollen before it enters the body, as well as dust and pet allergens .

Wearing wraparound sunglasses when outdoors will also help to prevent pollen particles coming in contact with the eyes. And tie up long hair and wear a hat, cap or other head cover when outside to prevent pollen particles being caught in your hair.

Wash your face (or your child’s face) as soon as you get indoors to wash away allergens so that they can’t cause a reaction. Shower at night before sleeping to remove pollen particles from your hair and body.

Close windows and doors to prevent pollen blowing into your home. Vacuum the house regularly (especially beds and fabrics) to remove pollen particles. Dry your clothes indoors rather than on a clothes line to prevent pollen particles being blown onto the clothes by the outside wind. And if you own a pet then ensure that it is well groomed and shampooed as much as possible to remove pet allergens and pollen particles.

If your symptoms are particularly severe or the pollen count is particularly high, or you find that one product is not enough or stops working, you could try creating your own Hay Fever First Aid Kit. I suggest that your ideal Hay Fever First Aid Kit will consist of one or more natural products, such as HayMax, only one antihistamine, only one nasal spray and eye drops. Never take two antihistamines together, never take two steroid nasal sprays together, and consult your pharmacist or doctor if you are already taking any other medication.