Spring has always been a transformative season for me. As the the weather improves, so, too, does my mood. But there has always been one thing that makes the move from winter much, much worse: my hay fever.
Like one in 10 children and one in four adults, according to the Met Office, I have always suffered with hay fever. With that number rising year on year too, it’s likely that if you don’t get symptoms yourself, you’ll know someone who does.
For me, the worst symptom has always been unbearably itchy, watery eyes, although the constant sneezing isn’t that much fun either. Other symptoms include itchy mouth, ears and throat, coughing, a blocked nose and many more.
For a few years I took prescription strength Loratadine (Clarityn), which worked for a while, up to a point. The symptoms reduced but I was always able to tell when it was a day with high pollen in the air because my eyes would still itch and the sneezes would come and go. If it was the best the doctor could do, then I’d just have to put up with the remaining symptoms, which were reduced.
Eventually, Loratadine stopped being as effective. I mentioned it in passing to my GP when I was there for an appointment about something else. “We’ll try something different,” she said. Enter Fenofaxidine.
It seems too much to say that Fenofaxide changed my life but, in hay fever terms, it was a total gamechanger. The medication stopped my symptoms instantly. No more sneezing, no more itchy eyes, no more hay fever.
Obviously, I’m not a medical professional but it didn’t stop me telling everyone I know with hay fever to speak to their doctor about it. My mum, also a lifelong sufferer, saw the same effects as I did.
So when I saw an advert last year for Allevia (a brand name for over-the-counter Fenofaxidine), I knew the potential its declassification could have on hayfever sufferers in the UK. I wasn’t surprised when it sold out after going viral on TikTok last year.
One review said: “This actually works. I’m impressed. My eyes are not bulging because they are itching. I feel good, I can enjoy the sun,” she said.
Hay fever isn’t life or death, nor should it be treated as such, but for someone whose mood is so dramatically increased by spending time outside it has made quite a big difference to me – the simple pleasure of being able to enjoy the sun.