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Head off hay fever with targeted preventative measures, says Dr Matt

By West Briton  |  Posted: May 01, 2014

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EASTER this year involved some complex discussion with our three-year-old about chocolate, specifically how it is that rabbits are capable of laying chocolate eggs and the reasons why normal rabbit poo, although looking slightly Malteser-ish, is not to be eaten no matter how hungry you are. Trying to be plausible, whilst not spoiling any childhood fun but at the same time encouraging at least a tiny bit of scientific inquisitiveness, is a tricky job. Having discussed where our food goes and what becomes of it I was alarmed recently at dinner when my daughter asked if she was allergic to peas. Watering eyes, a blocked nose, a couple of sneezes: all the symptoms were there – most odd, as peas are often on the menu. Then it dawned on me; she had been conducting a food-and-orifice experiment. "You've put one up your nose, haven't you?" A nod of confirmation. Keen to avoid an embarrassing trip to Minor Injuries I donned a head torch and, armed with tweezers, managed a very satisfying extraction of a rather bloody pea.

Allergy symptoms are clogging up tissues and GP surgeries all over Cornwall this week as hay fever season kicks in. Prevention is better than cure so if you are a sufferer get yourself to the pharmacist and buy some products targeting whichever part of you is affected. If your eyes are watering, get some eye drops. If you are sneezing or have an itchy throat, take an antihistamine tablet, and if your nose is running or blocked, get a nasal spray. In some cases take all three, and only contact the surgery if this hasn't worked. You might need to modify some of your habits, too. Pollen rises as the air heats up in the morning and settles again in the early evening. Therefore, don't walk your dog through fields after work; there is less pollen at the beach. Shower before bed to prevent pollen from your hair getting on your pillow and keep your bedroom windows closed; use the air conditioning with a pollen filter in your car rather than have the window open. However, if driving to the beach with your dog they should be allowed to stick their head out of the window to amuse other road users while you reach for the nasal spray.

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