Hay fever could feel worse during the night – expert explains why and how to overcome it

GMB: Ranvir Singh suffering from hay fever concerning Richard

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Nasal congestion is often worse at night, pathologist Heather Wright confirmed. It may not, however, be for the reason you might think, as it might not be hay fever after all. Exposure to triggers can lead to uncomfortable symptoms such as a stuffy or runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing, and itchiness. “Common irritants are commonly found in the bedroom,” Wright verified, “and in our bedding.”

One such example is dust mites, which are “tiny creatures” that feed on dead skin cells.

The microscopic organisms are often found in mattresses, pillows, and box springs.

Heavy curtains, carpets, sofas, and stuffed animals are all potential dust traps, thereby making symptoms worse.

So what is the solution? Wright certifies that washing “your bedding regularly in the hottest water it can handle” is key.

Laminate or hardwood floors are viewed as better than carpets in the bedroom, blinds are seen as less triggering than blinds, and non-upholstered furniture could help to reduce the amount of dust in the bedroom.

Regular dusting is also highly recommended alongside the use of a dehumidifier to help reduce airborne dust levels.

Another common allergy that could be making your hay fever symptoms seem worse at night is pet dander.

People who share a bed with their pet are especially vulnerable to nighttime allergy symptoms.

During pollen season – from March to October – pets can bring in additional pollen from the outside.

It is for this reason that frequent washes with a non-allergenic shampoo is recommended if you have pets, such as a dog.

Even hypoallergenic breeds, such as a Bichon Frise, can shed allergens, leading to an allergic reaction in highly sensitive people.

Allergy UK pointed out that “allergic rhinitis has tabled in the past 20 years”.

Allergic rhinitis is the medical term given for the inflammation of the nasal lining that is caused by a trigger.

When caused by pollen, it is known as hay fever and the reaction can lead to:

  • Sneezing
  • Itchy nose/itchy palate/itchy throat
  • Blocked nose/stuffy nose/ nasal congestion
  • Runny nose (usually with clear fluid)/ nasal discharge
  • Red/itchy/watery eyes (that can become very sore or infected with frequent rubbing)
  • Post nasal drip (the sensation of mucus running down the back of the throat)
  • Cough
  • Wheezing/asthma symptoms/tight chest/breathlessness
  • Sinus inflammation/pain
  • Feeling of itch in ear/ear blockage.

The symptoms of hay fever can disturb a person’s sleep, impair daytime concentration, and cause people to miss out on work or school.

“Medication for allergic rhinitis can be very effective, especially when used correctly,” Allergy UK stated.

Antihistamines work by blocking the allergic response and nasal steroids work by reducing inflammation.

Allergy UK recommends “once daily” hay fever medication that does not cause drowsiness.

Antihistamines are effective for mild symptoms, especially sneezing or an itchy, runny nose.

However, more moderate to severe symptoms are better treated with a steroid nasal spray.

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