Allergy Awareness Week 2021: Staying safe when the seasons change
On Monday 26 April, Allergy Awareness Week 2021 begins. As icy Winter days are replaced by the warm Spring sun, who doesn’t feel a little brighter on the inside?
But before we embrace the changing of the seasons, it is important to keep safety in mind. While you stick to Covid-19 guidelines, don’t let your allergy awareness slip through the cracks.
Almost half of all UK adults suffer from an allergy, which is why spreading awareness of how to deal with common allergies is an important annual occasion.
Understanding hay fever
This year’s Allergy Awareness Week is focused primarily on hay fever – by far the most common condition of its kind affecting people during the warmer months. Hay fever affects millions in the UK each year, and is caused by an allergic reaction to pollen from certain plants – including grass and trees.
Most people are undoubtedly familiar with the annoying symptoms (as listed on the Allergy UK website):
- Itchy eyes/throat
- Chronic sneezing and a blocked or runny nose
- Watery, red eyes
- Shortness of breath
- Post-nasal drip (sensation of mucus running down your throat)
While there is no permanent cure, you can prepare for all the warm, windy, and humid days that lie ahead. Staying inside, keeping windows closed, and being wary of allergen-carrying pets during high pollen counts will protect you most. But if you must go outside, try to avoid grass, wear wraparound sunglasses, and take antihistamines to minimise the severity of any symptoms you may encounter.
Click here for more details on hay fever prevention.
Hay fever or Covid-19?
A uniquely 2021 concern for Spring allergy awareness is understanding the difference between hay fever and Covid-19.
While chronic coughing is a shared symptom, there are many differences. Covid-19 can be identified by its tendency to cause a high fever – a symptom not shared by hay fever. Likewise, the runny/itchy nose, sneezing, and itchy/watery eyes typified by hay fever are not mirrored in Covid-19.
It is important to know what your symptoms represent so can get the right treatment for your condition as soon as possible.
Other types of allergies this Allergy Awareness Week
While hay fever is the most common annoyance, there are plenty of other allergies waiting to ambush us this Spring and Summer.
Nearly 10 million people suffer from more than one allergy, so it would be remiss to focus solely on one. Other common allergens include dust mites, insect bites & stings, latex, mould, household chemicals, and certain medicines (e.g. ibuprofen & aspirin).
Any of these can cause the same symptoms as hay fever, as well as itchy rashes & worsening asthma & eczema symptoms depending on what you are exposed to.
Extremely severe allergic reactions can result in an anaphylactic shock, which requires urgent medical treatment.
If you want to book an appointment with one of our Imaan pharmacies, or want more details on the conditions discussed in this post, please call us or visit our locations page.