One in five people in Europe is thought to suffer from hay fever, and the bad news is there's no cure for it and you can't prevent it. You'll know if you're affected. It's the itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, runny nose that don't go away like a normal cold, often combined with headaches and tiredness.
After you've been to your pharmacist or Huisarts/GP for advice on the best treatments, such as antihistamine tablets, drops or sprays, here are some other tips to try.
Watch the clock
Certain times of the day have higher pollen levels. On a typical high count day - dry, warm and sunny - at this time of year, the first half of the morning and later in the afternoon until late evening are the times to avoid being outside.
Wash it off
Pollen is made up of fine, microscopic grains released into the air by grass, plants and trees. They are carried on the wind, easily inhaled by humans and pets, and they stick to everything. So, it's a good idea to wash it all off once you're home, showering, washing your hair and changing your clothes. For the same reason - if you're really suffering you should avoid drying washing outdoors on a clothes line when the pollen count is high.
When is the pollen season?
Tree pollen - late March to mid-May
Grass pollen - mid-May to July
Weed pollen - end of June to September
...And for the techies
The pollen count is the amount of pollen per cubic metre measured over 24 hours at various places, using a trap with sticky paper inside it. A reading of between 50 and 150 grains of grass pollen is considered high - enough for hay fever symptoms to appear. Check out this link which shows the type and amount of pollen in our area daily:
Get the vacuum out
Vacuuming the house regularly and dusting with a damp cloth will help to prevent the pollen accumulating indoors and irritating your eyes and nose. While you're at it, keep windows and doors shut as much as possible - especially in the early morning and evening.
Know your weather
Make sure to monitor the pollen forecast. When it's warm, humid and windy, the pollen count is higher. Rainfall decreases pollen concentration in the air, particularly if it rains heavily in the morning. The amount of daylight also plays a role - plants and trees will produce less pollen when it's cloudy.
Healthcare professionals recommend: wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen from getting in the eyes and putting Vaseline around the nostrils to trap pollen.
Don't keep fresh flowers in the house
Don't smoke or be around people smoking, because that makes symptoms worse
Don't cut grass or walk on it, or close windows if it has to be done!
Avoid alcohol - beer, wine and spirits contain histamine, the chemical that sets off allergy symptoms in the body
Pets can carry pollen, so don't encourage them to come indoors (unless they belong to you)
Thanks to the BBC for the majority of this articles content!