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Pollen bomb to hit UK – pharmacist warns against common hay fever habit

Hay fever: Dr Chris Steele shares advice on avoiding pollen

Coming into contact with an allergen, such as pollen, kickstarts the body’s fight mode.

Dajani explained: “When we encounter an allergen, either from inhaling, swallowing, or simply by the skin coming into contact with it, the body goes into fighting mode and the immune system overreacts to the substance.

“A protein known as IgE is produced to go after the allergen, and a chemical called histamine is released into the blood, and it is this that creates the symptoms commonly experienced.”

Symptoms of hay fever, the NHS points out, can range from sneezing to headaches.

The side effects of a pollen allergy can include:

  • Coughing
  • A runny or blocked nose
  • Itchy, red or watery eyes
  • Itchy throat, mouth, nose and ears
  • Loss of smell
  • Pain around your temples and forehead
  • Headache
  • Earache
  • Feeling tired.

Dajani added: “When we have these types of symptoms, the body is functioning and doing its job to get rid of the allergen.

“Though we need our body to react in this way, the symptoms themselves can really affect our general wellbeing, lowering our immune system and interrupting everyday activities.”

While it might feel natural to itch your eyes when they are feeling uncomfortable, this habit could bring on other health problems.

“Our hands come into contact with most things, from people to surfaces,” began Dajani.

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As the fingertips can pick up bacteria and germs, these can then be transferred into your eyes if you’re rubbing them.

“People tend to get more styes during allergy season,” said Dajani to The Mirror.


A stye is a bacterial infection of one or more of the small glands near the base of the eyelashes, the Mayo Clinic says.

The red, painful lump may look like a pimple or boil and is often filled with pus.

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Another “problem” associated with rubbing the eyes is conjunctivitis, said Dajani.

Conjunctivitis can lead to red, gritty, watery and itchy eyes that may burn.

Then there’s the risk of blepharitis, which is when the “oil glands near the base of the eyelashes become clogged”; this leads to “irritation and redness of the eyes”.

Sultan Dajani is the community pharmacist from eye care brand Golden Eye.

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  • Posted on June 5, 2023