Hi reader, I assume you are reading this open letter because you have a friend or family member who suffers from an airborne allergy such as hay fever and you don’t understand how to support them.
You might find it annoying that they cancel plans last minute because it’s a ‘high pollen count day’. Or perhaps you have been told that you are insensitive to their suffering. Eek harsh words!
Don’t worry, these things happen, but it doesn’t mean you can’t rise above this and do better for your friend or family member. So thanks in advance for reading this; now you can learn how to be a supporting friend and family member of airborne allergy sufferers.
Below are some things you can do to support your friends and family members who suffer from hay fever.
- Understand the different airborne allergies
- Encourage your family member to go for a blood test
- Understand that it impacts quality of life
- Create an allergen-free space
- Learn the truth about allergy management products
- Gift your loved one anti-allergy products
- Learn practical ways to be supportive
Attempt to understand the different airborne allergies
Hay fever is just one of the airborne allergies; several allergies could cause your loved one so much distress.
What is an airborne allergy?
Airborne allergens are those carried by air. They include: pollen — typically from grasses, flowers and trees, house dust — which includes insect debris, dust mites, dust mite droppings, and dead skin.
- It’s important to note that different individuals may be sensitive to different types of pollen, and allergies can manifest throughout the year.
- We can better empathise with our loved ones’ allergy struggles by understanding the seasonal variations and specific triggers.
This takes me to my next point.
Encourage your family member to go for a blood test
I remember the years when my allergies started to affect me beyond the ‘high-pollen’ and hay fever season. Even in winter, I had a bad cold, and my nose was always blocked.
So, I got tired of it and started to do some research about airborne allergies. I realised that I needed to understand what I was allergic to. Then, I took myself to the GP and demanded that they give me a blood test to test me against all the airborne allergies. The results came out, and I am allergic to dust mites, grass, and dogs. I was also informed that my dust mite allergy was the most severe one out of all my allergies. It is also what caused me to suffer all year round.
Dust mite allergy is an allergic reaction to tiny bugs that commonly live in house dust. Signs of dust mite allergy include those common to hay fever, such as sneezing and runny nose. Many people with dust mite allergy also experience signs of asthma, such as wheezing and difficulty breathing.Mayo Clinic
Upon getting this information, I immediately informed my family and friends and made efforts to ensure my home was dust-mite-free.
Nowadays, I do not suffer all year round, although nights can be a bit tricky depending, especially I am in a carpeted room (dust mites love carpet).
You can also encourage your loved one to go to their GP and ask for a full blood test against all airborne allergies. This will help them understand what their body is fighting against and help them make smart decisions during the peak allergy seasons.
Understand that it impacts quality of life
Some people are bed-bound during the peak allergy seasons because they have a severe reaction to airborne allergens.
Sneezing uncontrollably for hours can cause headaches, sore nose and tiredness. This can also impact your daily life, including work, ability to function and think, and daily activities.
It could be that you experience a mild sniffle during the summer months or you may have more severe symptoms, such as an extremely runny nose, constant sneezing, sore inflamed, itching eyes and chronic nasal congestion.Allergy UK
At most, it can even cause wheezing which affects breathing and this is a big deal. Some people are bed-bound during the peak allergy seasons because they have a severe reaction to airborne allergens.
Create an allergen-free space at home
When you create an allergen free space at home, it helps your loved ones enjoy the space without the threat of allergies creeping up again.
If your loved one is visiting or staying with you, consider reducing potential allergens in your home, such as keeping windows closed, vacuuming regularly, and avoiding strong fragrances.
When you create an allergen free space at home, it helps your loved ones enjoy the space without the threat of allergies creeping up again. You might even notice they want to visit you more and spend time in the space that brings them the most peace.
Learn the truth about airborne allergy management products
on the really bad days, they might not work
Many products out there help to keep the allergy symptoms at bay – but the truth is, on the really bad days, they might not work. Some people might swear by nasal sprays, and for others, it makes them sneeze even more. What works for one might not work for another.
Yes, there are also eye drops and allergy pills, which many people say work for them. However, it would help to accept that your loved one might have tried them all and still suffers from allergy symptoms.
Sometimes, staying indoors with closed windows and blinds and working in a darkened room is just what they need to remain allergy symptom-free, and even then, they will need a whole box of tissues because of a leaky nose.
Yes, its okay to gift your loved one anti- airborne allergy products
These are the things that would enhance their quality of life during the peak allergy season.
For example, air purifiers will clean out toxins and allow you to breathe clean air, and allergy-free bedding helps allergy sufferers have a good night’s sleep.
When purchasing anti-allergy bedding, look for ‘Hypoallergenic beddings’ to ensure you buy the one that doesn’t cause allergies and also wards off the toxins that causes allergy symptoms to come to the surface.
Hypoallergenic means that the pillow or duvet is less likely to trigger allergies. Anti-allergy means that the pillow or duvet has been treated in some way to combat the development of dust mites, or to offer protection against their allergen. Essentially, they both serve to prevent allergies.Dusal blog
Practical ways to be supportive
You can support your family and friends who are allergy sufferers in the peak seasons in many ways.
- If your loved one cannot go to the park during the peak pollen or allergy season, don’t plan any event that involves this.
- If your loved one is having a bad day because of their allergies, ask them how you can help them.
- If your loved one cannot vacuum the carpeted room because it makes them sneeze, swap this out for washing the plates instead.
- Understand that allergy tablets, nose sprays, and eye drops sometimes won’t work. Stop insisting that they may not have found the right product. Sometimes it’s just a bad allergy day, and those things will not work.
- Understand that everyone’s allergy is different. Some people have a mild one, others have an extreme reaction and might even be bedridden as a result of the symptoms of their allergy.