Perhaps one of the worse hay fever symptoms in terms of appearance are swollen, puffy eyes. Often, the white of they eye becomes bloodshot and red too. Children may be worse affected as they are less likely to resist rubbing eyes when they itch. Being able to reduce puffy eyes from hay fever will help soothe the eyes and also make you feel better about your appearance.
Why do Eyes get Puffy through Hay Fever?
When pollen contact the eyes, the body releases histamines to help fight off the attack.
Even though pollen is harmless, for those who have hay fever, it sends the immune system into overdrive. This has the irritating effect of producing hay fever symptoms like itchy, watery eyes. When rubbed, the area around the eyes becomes swollen.
Here are some tips on how to reduce swollen and puffy eyes from hay fever.
1. Reduce the Itch
For the tissue around the eyes to calm down, reducing the need to itch is essential. Otherwise the temptation will eventually be too much and start the swelling process again.
To soothe eyes from hay fever itching, use medicated eye drops for hay fever. You can buy eye drops online or from a chemist, or they may be prescribed by a doctor.
For extra soothing, keep the eye drops in a fridge so they are cooling when applied. This will help to reduce puffy eyes.
If you don’t have any eye drops, wash your face and gentle drip a little cold water into each eye to wash out pollen.
2. Keep Eyes Cool
Apply something cool under and over the eyes. You could soak a flannel in cold water and hold over the eyes, or use ice or a small bag of frozen peas that is well wrapped in material. A face wash cloth works for this. Don’t let ice touch the skin as it can cause ice-burns.
For a longer-lasting cool compress try the Cold Eye Compress for Allergy and Hay Fever by The Eye Doctor.
Another alternative is the gel eye mask by TheraPearl.
You could also try cooling slices of cucumber, or two teaspoons that have been chilled in the fridge.
Whenever you use something cold to sooth the eyes, it helps calm down inflamed tissue and reduce swelling and puffiness. However, don’t apply for too long. Ten to fifteen minutes should be enough to begin to reduce swelling, though it is unlikely to go completely back to normal.
3. Take Anti-Histamine Medication
If your eyes have had a bad reaction to pollen, take anti-histamine medication, if you have not already. This should help your body cope with the pollen and lessen the reaction.
4. Wear Sunglasses
Sunglasses will soothe your eyes by blocking out bright light if you are outside. It also acts as a barrier against pollen.
If you are worried about your appearance, wearing sunglasses means you can go about your daily business without feeling self-conscious about puffy eyes.
5. Avoid Eye Make-Up
While it might be tempting to wear eye make-up, when you are prone to hay fever it can make eyes feel worse. One example is mascara. When you apply it, it coats the lashes in a sticky layer to darken them and lengthen the look. While the mascara does dry, it still gives a larger and stickier surface area for pollen to land on than if you just had clean lashes.
6. Reduce Pollen in the Home
Keeping a pollen-free home is not easy, especially when the weather is warm and windows and doors are open. If you share your home with other, it is not always easy to ask them to stay inside or keep windows and doors shut.
Instead, choose one or two rooms to keep clear of pollen. This gives you somewhere to retreat to if your eyes begin to react. A bedroom is a good room to keep as a pollen free zone. Keep the windows and doors shut, use bed linen that has been dried inside, and use an air purifier to extract allergens from the air. This will also help keep you free from allergies during the night, so you can get a good night’s sleep.
7. Keep Long Hair Tied Back and Wash it in the Evenings
Women or men with longer hair may find they sweep it off their faces or out of eyes often, and if there are pollen grains lurking on the hair, then it is easy for them to find their way to the eyes. Keeping long hair tied back may help to reduce puffy eyes, by reducing contact with pollen.
If you have been outside during the day, washing your hair before you settle in for the evening may prevent puffy eyes. Washing hair will help get rid of stray pollen grains, helping to lessen the allergen that brings puffy eyes.
Swollen eyes from hay fever do take a while to settle. Try not to rub them in the meantime, otherwise it just triggers the release of more histamine in the body, creating even more swelling and itchiness. It’s a vicious circle.
If you feel unable to cope with itching eyes from hay fever, even with anti-histamines and eye drops, speak with a doctor. They may be able to prescribe a stronger course of treatment.
Itching and puffy eyes from hay fever can affect quality of life, so the more we can learn about preventing or treating it, the better. If you have any tips to share on reducing puffy eyes from hay fever, please add in the comments.