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A breath of fresh air

By West Norwood Therapies Team, Jun 27 2018 08:00AM

Osteopath and yoga teacher Yinka Fabusuyi considers some self-care steps you can take to support yourself during this hayfever season.

Finally Summer is in full swing. Unfortunately this is not good news for everyone, hay fever sufferers are entering a tricky time of year, and South London air is certainly not fresh.

Symptoms can be miserable. Wheezing, stinging runny eyes, congestion of the nose and chest, and itchy throat and lots of sneezing.

The breathing challenges which can be associated with hay fever and asthma can contribute to tightness in the chest, and associated constriction in the neck and shoulders. The muscles around the upper ribs and collar bone can get stiff and achy as they assist in breathing mechanics.

Breathing exercises and postural advice

There is poor evidence to suggest that poor posture causes serious problems, but poor posture will not help pre-existing pain and stiffness. If you are feeling wheezy and tight in these areas focusing your breath in the abdominal area can help. To do this: Pull your shoulder blades back and drop your shoulders. Lift your chest slightly but do not puff it out or arch the lower back. Breathe in as you gently push your abdomen out. As you do this try to keep the area below your collar bones fairly still.

Breathe out and draw your abdomen towards your spine gently, Feel the air being gently expelled. Whenever possible breath through the nose. (Not always easy if you are suffer-ing with hay fever). Without straining or forcing the breath, try to breathe out as fully as you can before you begin to take your next breath in. This can help to relax the muscles of the upper chest. Tension in the upper part of the neck and back of the head can lead to headaches. Avoid jutting your head forward when sitting at your computer or laptop, and keep your shoulders down.

Seasonal bedding and mattress advice

Now is a great time for a good old spring clean and clear out. Lifting your mattress and vacuuming the bed base and mattress can help get rid of some allergens such as dust mites which may trigger asthma. (Get help with this as you do not want to strain your back). Turning your mattress can help preserve the life of your mattress, as well as stop wear in one spot. A mattress topper, and pillowcase protectors can also help minimise dust mites, as they can be washed regularly at high temperatures, along with any bedding.

Help with hay fever

There are several ways to manage hay fever and seasonal asthma and whether you choose to use natural or medical remedies, start early. Don’t wait until your symptoms have escalated.

1. During the hay fever season wash or rinse your hair before going to bed. This helps to get rid of any pollen and stops it being rubbed onto your pillow and causing further irrita-tion.

2. Line your nostrils with a thin layer of petroleum jelly on days when the pollen count is high.

3.If you have a smart phone download a pollen App.

4. Try not to dry your clothes outdoors on days when the pollen count is high.

5.Wear wrap around sun glasses.

6.Ask your pharmacist for advice about remedies and medications for hay fever.

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