Live More Allergy Comfortable

Below you’ll find a host of facts, top tips and articles to help you manage Hay fever symptoms this summer.

Find out more about Kleenex Allergy Comfort™

Kleenex® has partnered with leading British allergy charity Allergy UK to help the millions of people in the UK suffering with Hay fever live more comfortably this season.

This accompanies the launch of Kleenex Allergy Comfort™, Kleenex® first ever range of tissues specifically designed to care for those who suffer from symptoms of hay fever, pet and dust allergies.

Did you know...

A new study by Allergy UK and Kleenex® reveals a surge in UK hay fever sufferers.

  • Almost half (49%)

    of UK population report suffering from hay fever symptoms, almost double previous estimates

  • Over a third (37%)

    have developed symptoms for the first time in the last five years

  • Over half (56%)

    are anxious that others may mistake their symptoms for signs of Covid-19

Myth Busting

Living with allergies during a lockdown can be tough. More time spent at home means those whose allergies are caused by pollen, house dust mites and pets can suffer from more severe symptoms. We’re here to bust some common myths around allergens in the home, helping you to keep comfortable this summer.

Allergies in Lockdown

We’ve already started to see some warmer weather arriving and this is often the time of year when people living with Hay fever dread the start of the grass pollen season. Combine this with living over a year in the midst of a global COVID 19 pandemic and it is no wonder that we saw a rise of calls to our helpline.

The reality is, living with covid restrictions won’t stop allergies such as Hay fever from flaring up. In fact, the time we have all had to spend at home means other respiratory allergies such as those caused by house dust mite or pets can be increasingly challenging to manage. This means it’s even more important this year for you to consider ways in which you can help alleviate the symptoms and create a more comfortable living space.

Here is some information to enable you to manage your allergies at home.

  1. Keep windows closed in the evening. Pollen can enter the indoor environment through open windows and vents, which during the summer can be difficult to control. If possible, keeping windows closed, particularly in the evening when the pollen count is often high, will help reduce pollen exposure. Some air purifiers have also been shown to reduce pollen in indoor spaces.
  2. Take a shower or change your clothes. Pets, clothing and hair all carry pollen into your home. Where practical, it can be helpful to take a quick shower and change your clothes once you return home to help remove pollen from your hair and skin.
  3. Taking care of your house plants. We’ve seen a major rise in house plants and flowers since lockdown was announced. We’re all trying to brighten up our homes! But mould on indoor plants can trigger allergy symptoms, so it’s important to regularly check your plants, removing dead leaves and checking for mould around the soil.
  4. Keep your furry friends out of the bedroom. Pets are common triggers for people who have Hay fever and other respiratory allergies, as pet hair acts as a carrier of airborne allergens such as pollen. To try and reduce symptoms, make sure your pets do not sleep on your bed or in the bedroom. If this does not help seek medical advice, and it might be necessary to consider whether a pet is the right thing for you.
  5. Reduce house dust mites in your bedroom. House dust mite allergies are very common and can be associated with hay fever and asthma symptoms.  They are microscopic and gravitate to beds and warm, humid environments. Although you cannot see them the allergen can become airborne and trigger asthma. So, wash your bedding weekly at 60 degrees Celsius or above to kill house dust mites.
  6. Prepare your medication in advance. One of the best ways to manage allergies in lockdown is to be prepared. If your regular medications are running low now is the time to think about replenishing your supplies, and make sure to allow more time than usual to order and collect repeat prescriptions. If you suffer from allergic asthma, it’s particularly important that you take your preventative inhaler regularly, as well as carrying a rescue inhaler, where prescribed, with you whenever you leave the house.

If you’re looking for more information on how to manage allergens in the home, please visit The Allergy House for tips and advice.

Allergies VS Coronavirus Symptoms

At this time of COVID 19 we have put together the following three tips which will help to provide a little comfort and reassurance around the differences between the symptoms of the virus and the symptoms of Hay fever.

It has always been important to practice good hygiene, but now more than ever to help prevent the spread of COVID 19. Wash your hands frequently with soap and hand-hot water for at least 60 seconds. If you do cough or sneeze, Kleenex® has a range of products that ensure you are prepared for every situation, so you can catch it, bin it and kill it.

Related Content

Allergies Outdoors

Hay fever, or allergic rhinitis, is something that can affect both adults and children in the spring and summer months, just when it’s starting to get warm and we all want to be outside! Avoiding pollen can be hard though, due to the many different types of pollens which are released at different times of the year.

For some, the risk of increased and severe symptoms outweighs the desire to be outdoors.

The good news is that there are some simple steps you can take to help manage symptoms, reduce your exposure to pollen and ensure you can get out and about this summer.

  1. Start treatments early. Using treatments like nasal steroid sprays before the start of the pollen season may help to reduce the inflammation in the nose that contributes to the symptoms of Hay fever. And using antihistamines at the start of the season may help to reduce itchy eyes and a runny nose so symptoms will be more manageable when outside.
  2. Consider your wardrobe choices. Accessories like hats and wraparound sunglasses can stop pollen from reaching your face, hair, and importantly, eyes.
  3. Try using an allergen barrier balm. Some allergy sufferers find that applying an allergen barrier balm around the base of the nostrils and around sunglasses creates a barrier to airborne allergens.
  4. Schedule your daily outings carefully. By monitoring pollen forecasts daily, you can work out when the pollen count is going to be high (generally on warmer, drier days) and when you’ll need to be extra prepared. The general rule of thumb is that the pollen count is higher in early mornings and evenings no matter the weather, so if you’re planning to go outside, try to avoid these times.
  5. Brave the rainy weather. Pollen counts are lower during, or right after, a rain shower – so if you’re feeling brave pull on your raincoat and head outdoors when the weather takes a turn!

Allergies Indoors

Despite many of us currently spending more time at home due to Covid-19 restrictions, Hay fever symptoms persist for many as pollen can still easily enter the house through clothing, pets or open windows.

90% of Hay fever sufferers admit that their concentration levels are negatively affected by symptoms. With a summer of working from home on the horizon for many, it’s more important than ever that allergy sufferers create as comfortable a living and working space as possible.

Here are our top tips to help alleviate symptoms when you are inside the home so you can still make the most of your summer:

  1. No matter how good the weather, keep your windows shut if possible. If the desire for fresh air becomes too overwhelming, open a window during the day as the pollen count is higher in the evening
  2. Cleaning the house regularly can help reduce allergens in the home. Vacuum carpets with a high efficiency air filter vacuum cleaner. To reduce exposure to house dust mites, wash bedding weekly at 60 degrees Celsius, while curtains should be washed every three months at the same temperature. Fabric covered furniture should be vacuumed twice a week.
  3. Make sure you’re not carrying around dust and pollen on your clothes by drying your clean washing indoors, and then keeping wardrobe doors shut
  4. Pollen can stay on your skin and hair for a long time after you’ve been outside, so take a shower as soon as possible when you return home.
  5. Pet hair carries airborne allergens including pollen so keep your pets out of the bedroom and off soft furnishings, even if they might get a little grumpy about it

Allergies in the UK

Here in the UK, there are around 21 million people living with allergies – one of the highest prevalence rates of allergic conditions in the world. That’s around 1 in 3 of us. And allergic disease affects people of all ages.

Most people have heard of the more common allergies such as Hay fever, house dust mite and food allergies; but there are many more. So, if you’re reading this because you’re an allergy sufferer, whatever the allergy, rest assured you are not alone.

Coping with Allergy Anxiety

Stress and anxiety are closely linked to allergies, not only potentially leading to their development, but also playing a role in making symptoms worse.

At a symptom level, it can sometimes be hard to tell the difference between allergy and the impact of stress and anxiety, as the way our bodies respond can feel very similar. Shared reactions include shortness of breath, chest tightness and a racing heart.Allergy symptoms can also be incredibly frightening and lead to anxiety and hypervigilance, where we are constantly on the lookout for threat and danger or for signs of those bodily sensations. This can in turn act as a potential anxiety and stress trigger.High stress situations are more likely to cause this cycle, and the challenges brought about by lockdown and the impact of Covid-19 have been particularly stressful and anxiety inducing for many.Here are some strategies to help cope with anxious feelings and reverse the cycle:

Manage the physical sensations of anxiety

Shallow breathing and tense muscles are linked to stress, worry and anxiety so try the following techniques to try to combat these (try using these techniques when you are not anxious)

  • Mindful and calm breathing – consciously slowing down your breath and breathing deeply and gently
  • Meditation
  • Muscle relaxation – squeezing or tensing muscles in your body
  • Gentle exercise – try going for a walk, run, swim, cycle or yoga. Or something which exerts some physical effort such as gardening or housework

Increase our activity levels

Sometimes when we feel anxious and low, taking part in any activity can feel difficult so we stop doing things which we normally do even when we usually get enjoyment from them. Whilst we might feel relief in the short-term by not doing these activities, this only serves to reinforce our avoidance.

  • Create a list of your routine, necessary and pleasurable activities
  • Create a ladder of the list and rank your activities by easy, medium or difficult
  • Schedule your activities using a diary or calendar
  • Do the activity and rate your mood and sense of achievement after
  • Review your week; how did doing the activities effect your mood? What can you do next week? Were there any challenges? Think about how you might overcome them.

Identify negative and unhelpful thoughts

Sometimes, the extent to which we are worried or anxious outweighs the actual risk we face which can make us behave differently (e.g. avoiding situations or taking too much medicine). This can lead our bodies to respond in ways which end up reinforcing our unhelpful behaviours and thoughts.

  • Try to practice more balanced thinking by challenging those unhelpful thoughts and forming more realistic ones based on what is more likely to happen

Identify our worries

Everyone worries about things from time to time but sometimes our worries can feel overwhelming and unmanageable. This tends to happen when our worries are about things which are uncertain, unpredictable and uncontrollable.

  • Try writing your worry down and ask yourself “Can I deal with this worry now?” If the answer is yes, problem-solve it. If the answer is no, let the worry go and change the focus of your attention

Identify the problem and try some solutions

Although it’s best to let go of some worries (ones which are about uncertain, unpredictable and uncontrollable events), other worries relate to current and realistic problems which may be resolved by practical solutions

  • Identify the problem and what you can do about it (even if your options seem far-fetched!)
  • Look at the pros and cons of all the solutions and select your best option
  • Plan and schedule how you will do it
  • Put your plan into action
  • Review how well it went; did it work? Do you have to go back to your list? What got in the way?

For further support, contact our Helpline on 01322 619898 or use our webchat service to speak to one of our friendly advisors.

For more detailed guidance on managing anxieties, please visit getselfhelp.co.uk. Thank you to Dr Chrissie Jones for providing this information.

Now more than ever, we need to think how to create the most comfortable living space possible. But if you do find yourself sneezing, Kleenex® has a range of products that ensure you are prepared for every situation, with a touch of comfort.

Whilst hay fever seems a mild allergy to most, it’s pretty tiring feeling unwell every day for 2-3 months of the year. In fact you feel completely wiped out and exhausted – Lorette Vidler, Hay fever sufferer.

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