Summer. The season of sun, sea and sneezes.
For 376,000 Irish people who are living with both asthma and hayfever, the garden can feel like the ultimate health hazard.
Hayfever affects one in five people in Ireland, bringing with it irritating symptoms like itchy eyes, runny nose and headaches.
For the 80% of people with asthma who also live with hayfever, it can be more serious - potentially leading to a flare-up of their asthma symptoms and, in some cases, causing an asthma attack.
At this weekend’s Bloom, the Asthma Society and Dyson Ireland are promoting practical tips to help gardeners protect themselves against the summer sniffles.
Sarah O’Connor, CEO of the Asthma Society of Ireland, said: “People with asthma and hayfever often have to make significant lifestyle changes to stay well. When it comes to outdoor activities like gardening, hiking or family days out, these changes can often seem overwhelming and many people may feel their quality of life suffers as a result."
"Luckily, small measures add up. Our list of practical tips is designed to help people with asthma and hayfever enjoy the garden and being outdoors without having to make major sacrifices, all while keeping well and avoiding any asthma flare-ups.
Here are their top 10 tips:
1. Check the pollen forecast at asthma.ie before venturing outside. Try to stay indoors if the pollen count in your area is high.
2. Shut all your windows before gardening to keep dislodged pollen and dust out of your home.
3. Wear wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen getting into your eyes.
4. Put Vaseline around your nostrils to trap pollen.
5. Make sure your asthma is well controlled and take your regular preventer medication, as prescribed.
6. Wear a hat to stop pollen getting caught in your hair and brush your hair after gardening.
7. Shower, wash your hair and change your clothes if you have been outside for an extended period.
8. If you have a skin allergy, keep your hands, arms and legs covered when gardening.
9. Pollen can cling to animal fur. Keep furry pets out of the house during hayfever season and wash or bathe them after being outdoors to remove any pollen from their fur.
10. Using an air purifier indoors can help reduce the airborne allergens present inside the home, even when the pollen count is high outdoors.
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