It’s back – we’re talking about hayfever. Due to some warm weather hitting London and the surrounds these past couple of weeks there has been an abundance of pollen, trees budding, flowers popping open and bees buzzing around. Our Chase Lodge Hospital pharmacy has been busy giving out medication and advice to combat one of the most common allergies – which affects up to 1 in 5 people at some point in life. So if you’ve been wondering why you have been sneezing with a runny nose and uncomfortable eyes hayfever is the answer. Many of you may well have mistaken these symptoms for a cold so do make sure you pop into a pharmacy to check and if you have never experienced this allergy before, it doesn’t mean you won’t ever suffer, you can become intolerant to pollen anytime over the Spring or early Summer. The culprit as we have mentioned is pollen which is a fine powder released by plants as part of their reproduction. It contains tiny proteins which irritate the eyes, nose, throat and sinuses making them swollen and inflamed. There are lots of different types of pollen which affect people at various times of the Spring and Summer (and even Autumn), for example, what you may be experiencing now could be tree pollen as that is released during the Spring. In a few weeks’ time; toward the latter half of Spring and into Summer grass pollen is released and as if that wasn’t bad enough, weed pollen is found any time from early Spring right through to the late Autumn. Children tend to suffer the most but there is some good news, most people find that symptoms do improve with age and in around 15% of people, symptoms disappear altogether after a few years. So what can be done about it? While there is no cure there are certain medicines which can alleviate discomfort. For one, we have the Hayfever injection which will keep all symptoms at bay for the season. Our Chase Lodge pharmacy stock a variety of antihistamines including the non-drowsy kind. For more serious cases, our GP can prescribe (following a consultation) steroids which will help reduce inflammation and swelling and there are also inhalers available. Lastly, Dr Sohi at Chase Lodge Hospital is able to perform allergy testing to see f pollen is the trigger and if so, what type of pollen so we can really target the culprit. Remember you are not alone, hayfever affects over 10 million people in England, luckily it poses no serious affect to health – do remember when you travel abroad you can still suffer so pack your hayfever medicine! For more information please contact our pharmacist on 020 8358 7100.