This post was originally written for the July issue of the Hawkesbury Parish News
I don’t mean to sound like one of those townies who on moving to the countryside complains about pesky tractors slowing them down or inconsiderate cockerels crowing at dawn, but this year I’ve found the hay fever season particularly troubling. On the days when the pollen count is at its highest, I feel like I’ve been ambushed by an invisible demon casting gravel down my throat, sand in my eyes and pepper up my nose – all effective sleep deprivation techniques that leave me dysfunctional by breakfast time.
My usual first resort for healthcare advice is the NHS website, but having waited all winter for this glorious summer weather, I will not be following their top tips: stay indoors, close all windows, and don’t dry your washing on the line.
A plea for alternative remedies that would still allow me to have a summer produced several alternatives to prescription and over-the-counter antihistamines. I’m sharing them here in case they help you too. These three are definitely helping me already:
- Invisible armour: smear Vaseline around your nostrils and eyelashes to trap pollen before it reaches your system (it may not be a good look, but boy, is it effective!)
- Clean sheets: change your pillowcase every night to avoid pollen build-up
- Hose down: shower before bed to chase away lingering grains from hair and body
I’m about to try these:
- Fight fire with fire: take a teaspoon of bee pollen a day (you can buy it in jars – no need to chase bees around your garden with a butterfly net)
- Grasp the nettle: a daily drink of nettle tea (commercially available nettle teabags will take the sting out of the preparation)
My go-to winter cold remedy, hot water with honey and lemon, is also very soothing, especially for the sore throat. Local honey, available from Hawkesbury Stores, is meant to be best for hay fever, though Sandringham Estate honey, a gift from my sister who holidayed nearby, also works a treat for me. I’m guessing the Queen Bee was involved in that one.
To end on a positive note, at least hay doesn’t actually give you a fever. But that’s the kindest thing I can think of to say about it.