HAY fever sufferers face a shortage of medicines – just as pollen counts surge in the spring heatwave.
Popular anti-allergy pill Piriton is out of stock on online pharmacies due to supply problems with one of its ingredients.
The chemical chlorphenamine maleate is in low supply across the UK, and follows a shortage of HRT medicines.
But customers can still buy other hay fever pills such as Piriteze, Allacan, Benadryl and shops’ own brands as they use different ingredients.
A Boots spokeswoman said: “A very small number of lines are out of stock due to an industry-wide shortage of chlorphenamine maleate.
“We are expecting this to be resolved soon and new deliveries are expected in the coming weeks.”
Claire Anderson, president of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, added: “Chlorphenamine maleate is just one component of a few hay fever tablets, including Piriton.
“It is not a first-line choice as it is more likely to make the patients drowsy.
Other medication using cetirizine hydrochloride or loratadine is available across the country.
“Medicine shortages are not new and are something pharmacists have to manage on a daily basis.”
It comes as the Met Office said the warm spring weather was sending pollen counts soaring, meaning hay fever sufferers should take care.
Weather chiefs said yesterday: “Although the weather will be more changeable over the next few days, pollen levels will continue to reach the ‘high’ category at times across England and Wales.”
Sufferers should not despair just yet. THEA JACOBS has come up with some handy ideas, below, to soothe your symptoms.
YOU may think an apple a day keeps the doctor away.
But not in this case.
If you are allergic to pollen, avoid eating apples in the spring as they can make the reaction worse.
Apple allergy is seen in hay fever patients because they contain similar allergens, found in birch, alder and hazel pollen.
EAT THOSE FRUIT AND VEG
ADDING carrots, apricots and sweet potatoes to your diet will also help reduce symptoms.
They contain carotenoids, which reduce inflammation and improve your immune system.
Spinach and pumpkin have antioxidants that act as a balm to eyes, noses and throats.
START EATING HONEY
SNACKING on local honey can help to lessen your allergic reaction to the local plant life when it is in full bloom.
For the best results, supporters say, start eating honey two months before the pollen season begins.
And the honey should be locally sourced – from within ten miles of your home.
SIP CAMOMILE TEA
If your eyes are affected, make sure you have plenty of camomile tea at home.
Drink it or use the tea bags as a cold compress for your eyes.
Submerge a camomile tea bag for three minutes, squeeze out excess water and chill it in the fridge for half an hour before popping on to swollen eyes for five minutes.
STRIP OFF AND SHOWER
ONE of the easiest ways to soothe hay fever symptoms at home is to stop pollen coming into the house – by changing your clothes as soon as you are indoors.
To make this more effective, jump into the shower and wash your hair, as this leaves nowhere for the pollen to stay trapped.
GRAB SOME GARLIC
WHILE garlic might make you smelly to kiss, it will help boost your immune system and reduce your hay fever symptoms.
Garlic also acts as a decongestant and is a good source of the natural antihistamine quercetin.
It works best when it is eaten raw or crushed. But if you can’t face that, you can get it in pill form.
SPENDING half an hour kissing your partner can dampen the body’s allergic reaction to pollen, a Japanese study has found.
That is because it causes you to relax, and being chilled out reduces our body’s production of histamine, which is the chemical that causes the allergic reaction.
HAVE A GOOD LAUGH
THE old saying “laughter is the best medicine” might actually be medically correct.
A study by the American College of Cardiology discovered that giggling away for 15 minutes can help to soothe symptoms.
Laughter stimulates chemicals that block histamine production, reducing your reaction.
DAB ON VASELINE
PETROLEUM jelly is not just useful for sorting out your chapped lips.
If you spread it just inside your nostrils, it will trap the pollen before it gets into your respiratory system and prevent frequent sneezing.
If you also get itchy eyes, try applying it carefully around your eyes, or even to your eyelashes.
COOK UP A CHILLI
WHIPPING up a feast in the kitchen with some chilli and other hot spices will help to open your nasal passages, helping you to breathe more easily.
If you are making a spicy curry, try adding a bit of turmeric too, as it is thought to lessen inflammation.