Monday, 18 June 2012

Hayfever: My Story

I've wanted to do this post for a while now. I know a lot of people suffer with hayfever and it has taken me years to finally get to a stage where I feel like I'm not defenseless and I don't have to put up with the hell of living with hayfever. I went through years of suffering, unable to find any medication that worked. I've now found what works for me, and it may work for other people, or a different combination, or just one product could be the magic one for you.

During my GCSE years the medicine I was taking made me so drowsy, I would be very close to falling asleep during lessons and always, always, always fell asleep when I got home from school. In the summer of my GCSE exams I really suffered. The exams were usually held in the largest gym, which was on the fields surrounding my school. It got very hot inside and often the fire exits and doors were open. I'd sit and try not to sneeze for fear of making noise. But it would make my nose run constantly, but I'd be terrified to sniff. The pollen really affects my throat and so it would be dry and make me cough. Again I'd be petrified of making a sound. By trying to contain the coughing, it would make me really hot and sweaty and not in a state at all to take an exam! It was hell but I didn't have a way of making myself more comfortable during them so I struggled on. I finally went to the doctors after I'd left high school and was in sixth form. They always start you off on the weakest drug and if it doesn't work you have to keep going back (an NHS cost effective system I found out). I went through the entire stock of medicine available and nothing worked. The next summer I then tried high street medicines again. I was starting to see a surge in the media on remedies and products. The market was growing with cures and I needed to find something that worked. For a few summers I used tablets, although I can't remember which ones now but most likely everything on the market.

My hayfever usually runs from February to August, so I am a long term sufferer as most people only get it for three month periods during the height of the pollen season, July being the worst month for most.
Two years ago I got the most sore throat in the world around March time. Nothing soothed it and it was agony. I tried everything from hot tea, to cold drinks, to ice lollies, drinking endless amounts of water and anything else I could think of. It hurt to swallow and made me feel dreadful. It varied day to day and I could never work out a reason why some days were much worse than others. I felt tired constantly and would fight off falling asleep pretty much all day. I eventually went to the doctors who was so baffled put me in for tests on all sorts of things, but he suspected it could be that I was anaemic. Frustratingly all my tests came back clear and so I was back at square one. One day my Mum brought me Piriton syrup home as my hayfever was bad and my tablets weren't working. They advise you to change your medication year to year with hayfever and I needed a change. Amazingly the syrup cleared my sore throat! I'm now pretty much 100% certain it was pollen aggravating my throat. I never found out why I felt so tired but it is a symptom of hayfever and I guess I was suffering badly that year.

Last summer came around and although my medication was working, it was still wasn't to a level where my hayfever no longer affected my day to day living. My symptoms include: endless sneezing, running nose (which if I blow my nose, the tissue fibres aggravate my nose and I sneeze again, vicious circle), cough, headaches, tiredness, itchy eyes, irritable eyes, dry eyes, dry throat, thick mucus in my nose and chest in the morning when I wake, wheezy chest and blocked nose. I'd also been walking to and from work since February but had to stop in May time as I was getting terrible chest pains. The doctor advised me to stop walking as I was breathing the pollen deeply into my chest and it was causing the pains.
I saw in a newspaper a little gadget designed for hayfever sufferers claiming it was all you needed to beat those pollen demons. It retailed at £39.99 but the raving reviews meant I had to get one.
 Lloyds Pharmacy Allergy Reliever LINK Lower price now
This did not work overnight. I managed to use this three times a day (you must leave six hours between uses) and as if by magic one day I noticed my hayfever wasn't as bad. The way this little miracle works is when you place the prongs into your nostrils (very attractive) and press the start button a red light comes on. There is a timer so once complete the light will go out and the gadget releases a series of beeps to indicate the end of the cycle. It uses dual wavelength photo-therapy with the first wavelength improving blood flow and circulation and the second wavelength suppressing the cells that release histamine. This will reduce the inflammation and irritable symptoms of hayfever. Seriously I cannot rave about this product enough, just reading the reviews for this backs up my approval as it seems it has worked for so many other people.

This summer came around and I started use of my allergy reliever about February time, but when the poor weather hit and continued I got lazy and stopped using it. The past week I have paid for this mistake. My hayfever has been unbearable to the extreme. As soon as I step out of my house my eyes want to close and feel irritated and itchy. My nose runs, I can't stop sneezing and I feel awful. In desperation in town last week I bought a new brand of medication which is helping but until I get my use of my reliever up I won't feel myself for a few weeks.

These are the products that are now working for me, in combination use:
 l-r: Piriton syrup, Galpharm tablets, Hay Max nasal balm, Optrex Itchy eyes drops, nasal spray (prescription)
I can't take the syrup and tablets on the same day but will change depending on my throat. The eye drops are a life saver and have been an essential in my life for years now. They really help when my eyes are itching or when I get pollen in them. Pollen makes my eye swell up and form a bubble on the surface, this is the only thing that will get rid of it. I haven't been able to find a cure for the irriation that occurs when I remove my eye make-up. Without fail it makes my eyes bloodshot and unbearably itchy. Although the eye drops calm it down I wish I didn't have it every night. Some people may suggest I don't wear make-up during the summer. Firstly I would rub my eyes during the day if I didn't have make-up on and they'd get in a terrible state. And secondly make-up is quite important to my appearance particularly at work and as I work five days a week, its not really do-able. I use nasal spray on and off, mainly because when I do use it, it makes me nose run because it smells like pollen and then I have to blow it so surely blowing the spray back out. The Hay Max balm is another one I wouldn't be without nowadays. When it was first released it was very elusive. A year or two later Superdrug and Boots finally stocked it and I went slightly overboard and bought about five. They're all used up now and this is  my new one. The price has come down to about £5 now which is good.
 As you can see its a little like Vaseline. Its a clear balm that you put on the inside of your nose to stop pollen going up. My only bugbear with this, is when I blow my nose, this needs to be re-applied.

A considerably long post but if I could help somebody else find their cure or at least some products to ease their hayfever this will be worth it. Its definitely a case of trial and error to find what works for you, and I've learnt different things work for different bodies. I would say though that the allergy reliever has to be the very best invention ever. I think I have quite a bad case of hayfever as I can't even wear floral perfumes and if anyone is near me wearing one I have to move away. I'm glad I've reached a point now where I know what works for me and I can pass it on.
A tail end for this post is two products worth mentioning as it is the summer after all and I have been suffering terribly with bites. Calamine lotion is a god send for itchy bites but as I began wearing less clothes in the heat I couldn't walk around with the white splodges this leaves on your skin. So I found the bite and sting cream and although sometimes this makes your itches itch more, it does work. I keep my cream in its box as the tube is one of those metal type ones that if you squeeze just slightly when you take the lid off loads of cream starts coming out, so the box protects it when its being lugged about in my handbag and crushed by all manor of items.
If you've read this far, thank you. I hope this post has helped in someway.

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