With two bank holiday weekends and the spring half-term holidays coming up in May, hay fever sufferers across Cheshire are being reminded to stock up on remedies now so that high pollen levels don’t spoil days out.
The advice, from NHS South Cheshire CCG and NHS Vale Royal CCG, comes as the Met Office (which produces regular pollen forecasts) confirmed that spring has been delayed by the presence of ‘The Beast from the East’ last month.
Trees are now making up for lost time, flowering together and sending pollen levels soaring, with the potential to cause misery for hay fever sufferers who haven’t prepared.
Dr Nichola Bishop, GP and clinical director for quality at the CCGs, said: “For many people, the May bank holidays offer the chance to get out in the fresh air and do something active.
“This is great for health and wellbeing, but, there’s no need for hay fever sufferers to shut themselves indoors because pollen counts are high.
“I’m hoping that advance warning of higher than usual pollen levels will help people to get ready and make sure they can enjoy their well-earned breaks.”
The advice is to visit your local pharmacist, who can provide your usual treatments and also advise on newly-developed ones that might suit your symptoms better.
They can also suggest sensible precautions you can take to reduce symptoms, such as:
• wearing sunglasses when you go outside, to stop pollen reaching your eyes
• not drying washing outside when pollen levels are high
• showering and changing your clothes after you’ve been outside, to wash pollen away
Your local pharmacy is also the best place to re-stock your home medicine cabinet with treatments for other minor ailments that might develop over the holiday weekend:
• Painkillers like ibuprofen and paracetamol – 25p each (Junior paracetamol £1.90)
• Aspirin – 30p
• Antihistamines for allergies – £2.50 for a month’s supply of tablets. There are also creams for bites and stings
• Diarrhoea relief – £1
• Constipation relief – £1.60
• Throat lozenges – 99p
• Antacid – 99p
If you do need help unexpectedly, some local pharmacies will be open over the bank holidays.
You can also call the NHS 111 telephone service, a free phone number provided by North West Ambulance Service. They will give you the advice you need or direct you to the service best for your need.
(Graphics below show some local pharmacy opening times for Monday 7th May.)