Hay fever appears every summer, when plants begin to release pollen into the air causing some people to have an allergic reaction.
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Hay fever season begins in late March when trees release the substance. At present, through mid-May to July, it is the grass pollen season, when grasses release their pollen into the atmosphere.
Symptoms of the condition include a runny nose, puffy eyes and difficulty breathing.
There are several remedies for hay fever, including making changes to your behaviour on sunny days to minimise your pollen exposure.
Dr Sarah Brewer says that there is “little evidence” to suggest that eating local honey can cure hay fever symptoms.
“There is little evidence on which to draw any firm conclusion,” she writes on her website.
“It does seem that in people with a true pollen allergy, using local honey may reduce hay fever symptoms – at least for birch pollen allergy.
“But local honey probably needs to be taken for at least five months before the pollen season is expected. It may also help to start at low, immunotherapy doses which are slowly increased to help the immune system tolerate them better.”
She mentions that local honey may not be as effective because it contains heavy, flower pollen, rather than the wind dispersed pollen that triggers symptoms.
A study by the University of Connecticut found that eating local honey had no impact on people’s hay fever resistance.
Of the 23 people that completed the study, there was no significant improvement in hay fever symptoms for those taking local honey against those that were not.
However, when the researchers went and tested the volunteers after the study only 14 out of the 23 still had a “true” seasonal pollen allergy. But, this could also be an error as the study used people with “self-diagnosed” pollen allergy.
Writing on mumsnet.com, one user said that local honey has reduced their hay fever symptoms.
“I bought some [local honey] two weeks ago and have been having it on toast for breakfast.
“It’s delicious and my hay fever symptoms have lessened considerably. But, I have noticed that I am slightly worse in the evening so maybe I need a little spoonful at tea-time.”
Other ways to control hay fever include changing your bedding and washing your sheets differently.
You should start washing your sheets more frequently to remove irritants that can cause hay fever.
“The average person washes their bed sheets once every two weeks but in the summer months, twice a month is not enough to keep allergens at bay,” said Sealy UK, a mattress producer.
“In hay fever season consider washing your sheets once a week to keep sheets free of pollen, as well as dust and other particles.”
Your mattress can be one of the “biggest aggregators” of allergy symptoms, according to Sealy UK.
“The average mattress can contain tens and thousands of dust mites and their waste, which are a serious irritant for people with allergies.
“It can be hard to banish dust mites for good, but a high-quality mattress which holds the Allergy UK seal of approval can help.”