ST JOHN AMBULANCE: How to reduce hay fever symptoms

St John Ambulance, the nation's leading first aid charity has teamed up with the Herald and Gazette to bring you some simple, but life saving, first aid tips '“ this week: dealing with hay fever.

Symptoms can also be treated with over-the-counter medications
Symptoms can also be treated with over-the-counter medications

Hay fever is a common allergic reaction triggered by pollen, and results in symptoms such as sneezing, a runny nose and itchy eyes.

It usually begins in childhood, with boys being more susceptible than girls at this age, but can happen at any stage of life.

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Unfortunately there is no cure for hay fever but there are things that you can do to reduce the symptoms:

• Stay indoors and keep windows and doors shut.

• Avoid cut grass.

• Wear wrap-around sunglasses to stop pollen getting in your eyes.

• Take a shower and change your clothes when you get home can also help by removing the pollen from your body.

• Vacuum regularly, ideally using a machine with a HEPA (high-efficiency particle arresting) filter.

• Damp dust regularly. Dusting with a wet cloth will collect the dust and stop any pollen from being spread around.

• Don’t smoke or let other people smoke in your house. Smoke will irritate the lining of your nose, eyes, throat and airways, and could make your symptoms worse.

• Don’t dry your clothes outside. This will help prevent bringing pollen into your home.

Symptoms can be treated with over-the-counter medications, such as antihistamines.

If these fail to improve your symptoms, you can visit your GP who may prescribe you with steroid medication called corticosteroids.

• For those looking for quick, easily accessible first aid information, the St John Ambulance app is available free on smartphones and the website ( offers demo videos, an interactive game, and lots of free advice. For more information about first aid courses please call 0303 003 0101.


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