Operation Get Rid of Hayfever

As most of you know hay fever is the bane of my life, every April to September without fail my life becomes a snotty, eye itching misery.  It came to a head three years ago where bog standard hay fever started to morph into food allergies, hives and seasonal asthma – fun times!.

I made some radical changes to my garden, I can’t get rid of all the grass and trees but I could alter what I planted close to the house.

Then last winter I was flicking through my phone and I came across a picture of my patch testing and I remembered that apparently I’m as allergic to milk as I am to trees, shrubs and weeds….but I’ve never had a reaction to milk, ever! Whereas all the others I most certainly have!

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Then I was reading about the new treatments for peanut allergy which involve being exposed to tiny amounts of peanut.  I’ve never stopped drinking milk or eating dairy and I wondered if that’s why I’ve never had a reaction to milk?  The very first summer I had hayfever I was 17 and it was also the first summer I didn’t spend every single moment outside, because I was a too cool teen. So could that be it?

Obviously this is very very not scientific and is me guessing, but I thought why not try something with pollen? So all the flowers that had been banned from the house, I brought back in to the lounge and all the living areas, house plants were brought back too. And then I’ve attempted to spend at least an hour outside in the garden every day since December mostly in 20 minute chunks with the dog and a little teaspoon of local honey. And you know what….this last weekend beginning of JUNE is the first time I’ve needed either eye drops or an antihistamine! And I’ve only needed one tablet so far which is a miracle because normally I’m on every antihistamine drug there is by now!

I don’t think it’s cured by any means, but it’s a lot better and I’ve had two less months of misery, which has been worth all the times I’ve stood in the cold in the garden all winter and spring!

But in the meantime if you are miserable and sneezing here are some top tips from Boots:

Angela Chalmers, Boots UK Pharmacist explains: “Many people with hay fever wait until their symptoms strike before they take action, but the earlier you prepare, the better.  Here are some things you can do ahead of time:

1)      Speak to your pharmacist now so they can determine the right treatment for your personal symptoms so you can put an effective routine in place before the pollen count rises

2)      Nasal sprays should be used throughout the season for them to work effectively, not just when your nose starts twitching!

3)      Some eye drops can be used ahead of time to help reduce symptoms, so it is never too early to start a protection routine

4)      Remember that your sunglasses can help too so include them in your prevention plans – they act as physical guard against pollen exposure around the sensitive eye area and are an easy way to stay protected on the school run or commute

And here are my top tips

1. I’d also add don’t hang your washing out on the line collecting pollen, for you to then wear or lie in more pollen inside.

2. Wash your hair/have a shower as soon as you come in from outside on high pollen days, it really helps

3. Nice cold flannel over your itchy eyes does help a lot.

4. Get a sensitive eye cream to put around the skin on your eyes at night, helps them not be so red and sore.

Have a good non itchy Summer!

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Creating an Allergy Free Garden

Some of you might remember that last summer I had some scary incidents with what I thought were food allergies.  I was very lucky that my GP took me seriously and referred me to the local allergy clinic where I was throughly tested for everything and anything.

Turns out I’m not allergic to anything food related (thankfully!) but as you can see from my allergy test I’m allergic to grass, trees, shrubs, weeds and a little bit to milk (who knew!). Which as you all know,  I love my garden and this has broken my heart.

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It also means that my attempts to be helpful and mow the grass last summer because Paul was working long hours in London, pretty much made me really far more ill than usual with Hayfever. It also made me develop seasonal Asthma – which because it wasn’t controlled is now proper year round Asthma – who feels like an idiot now? Yeah me!.

But I have a large garden surrounding the house, there’s about 60ft at the front and about 150ft at the back, I can’t just leave it for 5 months of the year when the pollen’s at work.  I’m going to have to adapt it so I can still go out there without making myself ill. But how?

I’ve been going through the web and Pinterest trying to find out about Allergy friendly gardening and gardens. I remembered there was one at the Chelsea Flower Show and I’m still looking for more information on it.

Thankfully I don’t have any long grasses in the garden – they are a massive no, no! And I’m going to have to hire someone to cut my grass this year as Paul’s still doing a long commute and it’s not really fair to ask him to do it at the weekends.

But what to plant in the beds closest to the house?   My beloved roses are thankfully ok, and a lot of them are about halfway down the garden anyway.  However there are lots of lillies, stocks and hollyhocks near the house so they are all going to have to come out and be moved further down the garden. So I can still see them, but from a nice distance, through a window!

Lucky Apple, Plum and Magnolia trees are all fine – which is handy as I have all three in the garden.

But here’s a list of good allergy friendly plants, that I’ve found so far:

Flowers:

Daffodil

Tulip

Daisy

Geranium

Iris

Daylily

Pansy

Petunia

Rose

Sunflower

Zinnia

Shrubs:

Hydrangea

Azalea

Rhododendron

Viburnum

Boxwood

So it looks like I can still have lots of colour and structure. I also need to learn more about allergy gardening with veggies, but I’m sure that must be less of a problem?  I just need to think about how I’m going to re-model the garden and concentrate on getting it done before April. That way I can get it all in and then leave it to grow during the allergy months with minimal gardening from me.

If you want to know about allergy free gardening, I’ve pinned some sites to my Gardening Pinboard http://pinterest.com/violetposy/beautiful-gardens/ and I’ll be adding more as I find them.

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Long time, no post..

Sorry I’ve been away so long, I had a lot going on and just felt in need of a little blog break and it just went on longer than I expected.  Sometimes it’s hard to write about things when you’re in the middle of them.

It kicked off a few weeks ago when I started developing food allergies which I’ve never had before. At first it was just a reaction to some chilli pasta I’d eaten. I got a hilarious looking trout pout and I thought it was a one off thing down to scoffing some scotch bonnet chilli’s which I’d never eaten before. Then two weeks later the inside of my mouth swelled up when I had a chocolate biscuit – seriously how can I of all people be allergic to chocolate biscuits??  I should have been dead years ago if that were the case!  Then last week I started getting hives when I eat anything egg heavy like scrambled eggs or eggs benedict..

It’s made me paranoid about literally everything I eat and drink and I’m finding going out for dinner virtually impossible.  At the back of my mind always is if something that I’ve eaten thousands of  times like a plain chocolate biscuit can make me swell up, then what else can and how bad will it be next time it happens? It’s making me really, really miserable and paranoid. I am a woman love loves her food, it’s driving me batty and I’ve only had it a few weeks!. Those brave souls who have lived with it 24/7 since they were kids have my utmost admiration, it’s really, really hard living with it – I’m driving my family mad.

I have an appointment at the allergy clinic in July to find out what my trigger are/could be and in the meantime I have to carry antihistamines and steroids around with me in case it happens again. So far they’ve come in pretty useful, I’m very much looking forward to knowing what my triggers are and then I can eat in peace.

On the brighter side though, I was made up to find out that Violet Posy had made it through to The Mads (Mum and Dad Blogging Awards) in the Home category – you can vote for me here if you have time http://www.the-mads.com/vote.htm but pop over and have a look there are some great bloggers nominated over there and lots I’d never come across before.

Also last week we went over to Vancouver for the week as a family and had the best time, so I’ll be writing about that this week too – I have a million photos to share – just going through them now.

Thanks so much for sticking with me, it’s really appreciated!

 

 

 

 

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