Sunday, June 08, 2014

Annual hayfever update

The hayfever medicine cabinet contains an ever growing list of products. For those who don't suffer, trust me, it is a right pain in the ***. You feel all bunged up like you have a cold. You can't concentrate and are forever sneezing, rubbing your eyes, and blowing your nose. This is the plague of the modern era and it sucks.

This year my arsenal comprises:

- Cetrizine Hydrochloride - when I first developed hayfever, half of one of these tablets would clear up the itchy eye and sneezing symptoms almost immediately. However, their effectiveness has decreased each year and now they are only a modest help (they are at least off patent so are cheap to buy). These days the runny nose, itchy eyes and sneezing must all be adressed individually.
- Eye drops containing that sodium cromoglicate - used as needed for itchy eyes. Good stuff.
- Pirinase nasal spray contains fluticasone propionate - used last night and I had a great sleep with no runny nose. Seems to be at least as good as Beconase.
- Sudafed Decongestant with Pseudoephedrine. These tablets are the manna from the gods for those days when the nose doesn't stop dripping like a tap. I used to end up blowing my nose so much that it would start bleeding. Last year, I couldn't get a hold of Sudafed with this active ingredient and really suffered as a result. Note, these tablets are only available from the pharmacist, no prescription required. The substance is quite potent and is banned in many sports and is also used a precursor in the production of crytsal meth. In some other countries, its sale is much more tightly regulated and requires identification etc. You know its good stuff when it's on a restricted substance list! 

If the meds don't solve the problem this year, I may have to perform the annual ritual of making my bedroom into a clean 'safe zone'. I'll avoid this if I can though, because it is nigh on impossible to keep the window closed in summer, and once it's opened, it's game over and all the effort is wasted.

Relegated for now:

- Prevalin - turned out to be a complete waste of money last year. The dispenser was ineffective and it didn't do much more than coat the nose with a protective layer, which a few sneezes or nose blows would render useless.
- Sudafed Blocked Nose Tablets containing Phenylephorine Hydrochloride - these looked very similar to the Sudafed Decongestant Tablets described above but the active ingredient is nowhere near as helpful. To date I would say they have only been about 25% effective, if that. Definitely a waste of money.
- Beconase containing Beclomatsone Dipropionate - this was clearly effective last year, but this year I wanted to try something different.

See the below graphic to figure know your enemy:

Pollen in the UK
The pollen season separates into three main sections:

  1. Tree pollen - late March to mid-May.
  2. Grass pollen - mid-May to July.
  3. Weed pollen - end of June to September

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