By Nico Strydom
Many allergy sufferers’ hay-fever symptoms get worse during the night, which leads to insomnia.
“The term ‘insneezia’ refers to a combination of sleeplessness (insomnia) and sneezing that affects about two-thirds of people suffering from hay fever,” says Nicole Jennings, spokesperson of Pharma Dynamics.
It is generally accepted that pollen levels are usually higher by day when it is warmer and plants release pollen in the air, but according to Jennings research done in recent years indicate that there are also increased concentrations of certain types of pollen in the air at night.
“Insneezia is usually the result of pollen that rises in the air by day and drops to the ground when temperatures drop at night. For certain types of pollen it will be easier to get into the air at night owing to their size, while some plants only release pollen later in the day, which exposes hay-fever sufferers to higher levels of pollen at night.”
Studies also point out that hay-fever symptoms are the primary contributors to sleep disturbance and sleepiness during the day. Approximately 88% of children who suffer from hay fever and between 48% to 68% of adults experience sleep disruption.
“A lot of sleep is missed because certain plants release pollen for up to nine months of the year. It is also a myth that hay fever occurs only in spring. “ South Africa’s pollen seasons vary from province to province but usually start with flowering trees from August to October, after which grasses begin to produce pollen. This can last up to April or May.
Pollen is a fine powder circulating in the air and irritates the eyes and airways when it is inhaled through the mouth or nose. “Approximately 30% of South Africans suffer from hay fever, also known as seasonal allergic rhinitis. A blocked or running nose, sneezing and itchy eyes are some of the symptoms that hay-fever sufferers experience and can be the cause of their not getting enough sleep.”
According to Jennings the current hay-fever season is very severe. “Since the beginning of spring the pollen levels of trees are very high, especially in Gauteng, Cape Town and Bloemfontein.”
However, there are ways of alleviating the symptoms. “Take an antihistamine at least three hours before going to bed. Use a nasal spray that forms a protective layer in the nose and prevents the inhalation of fine pollen particles.”
According to Jennings it is also important to keep windows closed and, if possible, to rather use air conditioning. “Shower and wash your hair before going to bed because you could bring pollen into the house on your kin, clothes or hair.”
She also suggests that pillows and bedding be washed regularly. Floors and carpets should be vacuumed once a week and use air cleaners to remove allergens from your house. Wear a mask and sun glasses if you exercise out of doors.
“Knowing how to handle pollen allergies by day and night will be your best defence against insneezia and help you to feel refreshed when you wake up in the morning.”
Pharma Dynamics https://pharmadynamics.co.za/