If you struggle with hay fever, you're likely dreading the high pollen season. While there's a whole host of things you should and shouldn't do to help manage hay fever, experts say the way you're breathing could also impact symptoms.
According to experts, breathing through your mouth is one of the worst things you can do if you struggle with the condition - and the reason why makes so much sense.
It's all to do with our natural filtering system within the nose. As Abbas Kanani, pharmacist and medical advisor for Chemist Click, explains: "When you suffer from hay fever, it can often lead to a blocked, stuffy or runny nose and this can make it difficult to breathe through the nose.
"This means that people start to breathe predominantly through the mouth, similar to when we have a common cold. However, this can be detrimental and worsen any hay fever effects and if we are ingesting the air directly through our mouth, we are then allowing these pollen particles to enter our body directly and this could impact our lungs by triggering asthma, allergic bronchitis and other lung problems.
"Our nose has a natural filtering system, and so during pollen season these particles are then filtered by the nose which prevents the pollen from causing issues within the body, such as attacking our respiratory system."
Of course, breathing through your mouth can be tricky when you're contending with the symptoms of hay fever. But nasal sprays are often helpful in keeping your airways clear.
Decongestant nasal sprays can be found in supermarkets and pharmacies, while steroid nasal sprays can be found either in your local chemist or by prescription.
"If you are suffering with hay fever and have a blocked or stuffy nose, I would advise blowing your nose as much as you can to clear the airways, taking decongestion medication and using nasal sprays which should help to curb any sneezing and runny mucus which can lead to a blocked nose," says Abbas.
"Furthermore, rubbing Vaseline or petroleum jelly around the nose can help to catch pollen particles before they enter your nasal passage and block your nose. You may also want to take antihistamines or other hay fever and allergy treatments."
Alongside breathing through your nose and using vaseline, the NHS recommends wearing sunglasses; showering and changing your clothes after you have been outside; keeping windows and doors shut; hoovering and dusting regularly and buying a pollen filter for your car and vacuum.
They also advise against drying clothes outside (as pollen can cling to the fabric) and avoiding being around smoke, as this can exacerbate symptoms.