While many people long for the warmer months and embrace the sunshine when it finally arrives, people who suffer from hay fever often dread the change in seasons.

Symptoms can include a runny nose, itchy eyes and sneezing and are caused by an allergy to pollen. You can be allergic to grass, tree or weed pollen – each have different seasons, so your symptoms will flare up at different times, depending what you’re allergic to.

There is no cure for hay fever, but you can take tablets to relieve your symptoms. Staying inside throughout the summer months to avoid exposure to pollen isn’t ideal as often a lot of socialising takes place outside at this time of year. Here are some simple tips to minimise your exposure as much as possible.

Plan around the pollen count
As your symptoms are likely to be worse when the pollen count is high, it’s sensible to plan your days out for days when it’s lower. You can check the pollen forecast and if it’s over 50, your symptoms are likely to be worse. Not a good day for a picnic! Rainy days tend to have lower pollen counts, while sunny days see a spike in the pollen count in the evening.

Take notice
While checking the pollen count and planning around that can help you avoid it at its peak, it’s also worthwhile checking in on your own symptoms. Notice what conditions are like when your symptoms are minimal  and what it’s like when they’re bad look at here now. This way you are better prepared in the future.

Cover up
Wear wrap around sunglasses so you can limit the amount of pollen you’re getting in your eyes. Aim to have a shower as soon as you get home and change your clothes so that there is no pollen lingering on your clothes or skin (this has the added bonus of being excellent sun protection!)

Consult your GP
When suffering from hay fever, you may find that your symptoms cause you to struggle to concentrate at work or school. Over the counter medication can help and your pharmacist will be able to advise you. However, if you’re suffering from persistent and severe hay fever, it is worth seeing your GP for advice on alternative treatments.