My name is Lorette Vidler and I am a 35 year old wife and mother from Bicester, Oxfordshire.
During my teenage years, I began to develop symptoms of what I now know to be hay fever. It started off quite mild for the first few years (itchy eyes and sneezing) and then each year progressively got worse. I now have a number of symptoms that make my summer months pretty miserable and on top of this I have been breastfeeding so cannot take antihistamines at all. Each Summer, from about May - July I start getting an itchy nose and throat. Then it progresses to my eyes running and swelling with a jelly like substance(?), a sore throat, runny and sometimes blocked nose. In fact I am also armed with both a steroid preventer inhaler and Ventolin for when I experience breathing difficulties. Whilst hay fever seems a mild allergy to most, it's pretty tiring feeling unwell each day for 2-3 months and in fact you feel completely wiped out, exhausted, but I'm not really sure why? At night hay fever really takes a hold and I spend my nights awake, blowing my nose, rubbing my eyes and taking my inhaler.
I would say that my hay fever is now quite severe, though I went from no hay fever as a child to a mild grass allergy during my later childhood. Then in my late teens/early 20s I suddenly had quite a severe allergy and I've been going strong with miserable hay fever for approximately 15 years.
For me the main impact is that I feel almost poorly each day and drained - I'm a real 'get up and go' person so it really sets me back. To make matters worse Summer is my favourite season, but I feel as though I can't really enjoy it. Time outside = feeling terrible.
My greatest advice is not to treat the symptoms after they happen, but to plan ahead and focus on prevention. It sounds obvious but for years I have only taken my inhalers when I get short of breath and I've only taken antihistamines when I've woken up in the night with a streaming eyes and nose. Now I do as the doctor tells me and take my preventer inhaler everyday as it might (just might!) stop me getting short of breath. I'm not really sure I've cracked how to live and enjoy the sunshine with hay fever, but each year I live in hope I won't get it this year. I've not managed to get there but I still hope that will be so one day.