Hay fever: Dr Chris Steele shares advice on avoiding pollen
During spring, hay fever sufferers might begin sneezing, coughing, and might experience itchy eyes and ears. One of the first top tips shared by experts at Boots Hearingcare is to “stop sticking things” in your ears, such as cotton swabs. In fact, cotton ear swabs can “remove protective earwax”, “damage the ear”, and “push the wax deeper”, which can cause discomfort.
To reduce inflammation, there are numerous home remedies you can try to ease the uncomfortable sensation.
Examples include the use of aloe vera, or warm oils, such as coconut, tea tree, or garlic oil.
“Do make sure that you check with your doctor before using these methods,” the experts added.
Your doctor might also prescribe steroid or antibiotic ear drops that could be beneficial.
Alternatively, a pharmacist would be a good point of call when it comes to relieving itchy ears.
Antihistamines can help relieve the symptom, although be aware there is drowsy and non-drowsy medication to choose from.
The Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust stated: “Resist the temptation to scratch your ears or poke anything in them, to stop the itching.
“Similarly, you should not attempt to wash your ears out with the shower head.”
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Any of these behaviours could damage the delicate skin in the ear canal, thereby increasing the likelihood of an infection.
Itchy ears could also be the result of wax build-up, eczema, psoriasis, and an ear infection.
If wax has been able to build up in the ear, “try using olive oil drops or other wax softeners, such as bicarbonate drops”.
For skin conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis, an E45 emollient cream can be helpful.
“Occasional sparing use of Hydrocortisone one percent cream, which can be purchased at your local pharmacy, can also relieve itching caused by eczema,” the NHS Trust adds.
Mild outer ear infections, on the other hand, would benefit from “Ear Calm Spray”, which can help to restore the “natural acidity of your ear”.
This product can also be purchased at your local pharmacy, in addition to other ear products.
ENT, the professional association for British Ear, Nose and Throat Surgeons, explained: “Hayfever is the common name given to cold-like symptoms caused by inhaling plant pollens at certain times of the year.”
During March and April, hay fever symptoms are symbolic of an allergic reaction to tree pollen.
An allergy to tree pollen causes inflammation, which can lead to:
- Itchy nose, ears, throat, and eyes
- Blocked nose
- Irritation in the throat.
People sensitive to tree pollen can reduce their exposure to the allergen by avoiding the countryside (if possible), keeping the windows shut, and wearing glasses outside.
One of the most effective remedies for itchiness, for example, is antihistamine tablets or a nasal spray.
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