Being incontinent during pollen season

Being incontinent during pollen season

Pollen allergy is common and many know about the sneezing, itching eyes and coughing that many go through. But what is not talked about is how much this can affect those with stress urinary incontinence

What is stress urinary incontinence?

There are several different types of incontinence, the most common being stress incontinence. This means that you leak urine during physical exertion, such as running, jumping, sneezing or laughing. Since pollen can cause both extra sneezing and coughing, it can be particularly stressful to suffer from urine leakage during pollen season. Read more about stress urinary incontinence and what aids are available here.

What is pollen?

When you are allergic to pollen, your immune system overreacts when you are exposed to pollen. It is the protein in the pollen and spores that causes the overreaction. In such an overreaction, allergy antibodies are produced and you develop a sensitivity.

Many people experience different symptoms at high levels of pollen and sometimes it can be difficult to determine whether it is a cold or pollen that is causing the symptoms.

Common symptoms of pollen allergy

  • You sneeze a lot and often several sneezes in a row
  • Nasal congestion and runny nose
  • The nose, throat and palate/pharynx may be itchy
  • Coughing and irritation of the airways
  • You may experience Asthmatic symptoms
  • Runny, red, stinging and itchy eyes
  • You may experience headaches
  • You may feel tired

Diagnosis and treatment

Is it a cold or am I allergic to pollen? A common cold often results in a sore throat and thick mucus. The sore throat and mucus usually disappear or get better in about a week. Pollen allergy is sometimes called hay fever and common symptoms include fatigue, nasal congestion, runny nose and repeated sneezing. Pollen can also cause red, itchy eyes.

As a rule, there is no fever when you are allergic to pollen. If your symptoms don't go away quickly, or you find that you have a recurring, long-lasting cold every spring, you may have a pollen allergy.

Most people do not need to seek medical attention for pollen allergy as there are several over-the-counter medicines available in pharmacies that are collectively known as antihistamines but are sometimes referred to as allergy medicines. So pollen allergy can be easily treated with medicine. There are various eye drops and nasal sprays or tablets such as Livostin, Nasonex, Clarityn, Cetrizine, Desloratadin. You may want to start your medication just before the pollen season starts.

If you are experiencing severe problems or your current medication is not helping, it may be a good idea to contact a health centre for an allergy assessment to get advice on the most effective and best allergy medication for you. In an assessment, you can test and also find out exactly which pollen you are reacting to.

Tips for people with pollen allergies

  • Follow the pollen forecasts that update pollen levels right where you live! The pollen report updates the pollen forecast showing the levels of pollen today. There are also special pollen apps that update the pollen levels in different locations around you.
  • Pollen nets for the window, and if you need to ventilate, do it early in the morning or at night.
  • Use allergy medication daily.
  • Do not air your clothes outside.
  • There are different types of air purifiers that you can use at home to remove pollen from indoor air.
  • Damp wipe the floors and vacuum with a good filter.
  • Take the opportunity to do fun outdoor activities the day after it rains, when pollen levels are usually lower.
  • If you have a lot of trouble with leakage when you sneeze, there is the Efemia Bladder Support, a vaginal support that can help with urine leakage when you cough and sneeze.
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