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Do you spend all of the summer months sniffing, sneezing and being snotty, along with all the usual itchy red eyes and the antisocial behaviour trait of staying indoors all summer? Yes, I'm talking about hay fever. For those who suffer from it, it can be a nightmare and something that non-sufferers don't and can't understand.
If, like me, you seem to have tried every hay fever remedy under the sun, you may not have heard of this one: HayMax. I first came across it advertised in a gardening magazine, in the form of an advertorial with testimonies from gardeners who could suddenly go outdoors without the fear of being attacked by pollen. I was ever so slightly dubious, to say the least. But when my hay fever symptoms worsened this summer (probably due to the fact that I have started growing vegetables this year and spent a lot of time in the garden), I decided that anything was worth a go.
HayMax is sold in places such as Superdrug and Boots for about £6 and it's packaged in a bright yellow box. Inside the box is a little white pot similar to a pot of lip balm, apart from having 'HayMax' across the top. The 5ml contents of the pot also look a lot like lip balm. It's organic and drug-free and is marketed as a 'pollen barrier', being made from sunflower oil and beeswax. You smear a little of the contents beneath each nostril and reapply every so often, especially after sneezing or blowing your nose.
So, does it work? I've been using HayMax for the last month or so and I've stopped taking my hay fever tablets. My symptoms are massively reduced, with only slightly itchy eyes remaining. I'd smear this balm onto my eyeballs if I thought it would work. And if I didn't think it would damage my eyes!
The balm is easy to apply, it's easy to get just a smear out of the tub and that makes it last for ages. My pot will easily last me all summer. There's no smell from the balm and it doesn't look greasy on my skin, unlike something such as Vaseline, which would essentially do the same job but make the underside of your nose greasy, shiny and possibly spot-prone. The only time I've been able to tell that I've got the balm on has been when I've reapplied it too often, causing a build-up of the product.
So, if you'd like to be able to enjoy the summer, if indeed we have one, then I would heartily recommend buying a pot of HayMax. I think your friends might appreciate it too, especially if you start sneezing all over the barbeque!
Note: This is a review of the HayMax Pure
Anyone who suffers from hayfever will know it is a truly rubbish affliction, which affects your life mainly by being really irritating!
I've only had hayfever for about 8 years - apparently a lot of people develop it in their 20s, and apparently it's getting worse, because of pollutants and global warming or something (I'll stop talking about this bit because I don't know enough about it!)... anyway, it started off for me with my eyes being just a little bit itchy. Then the itchiness spread to the back of my throat and my ears, and then came the sneezing. And the sneezing is the worst!
I find that once you start sneezing, there is very little you can do, other than blow your nose because the pollen has infiltrated your body, and you just need to get it out.
I'm not keen on taking tablets at the best of times, but I definitely don't want to have to take tablets every summer just to function properly, so I was quite intrigued when my mum bought me some Haymax, which she'd found in Boots and claimed to be organic and drug free.
Contained in a little 5ml pot ( about the size of an old 10p and the height of two fingernails) and containing just organic sunflower oil and organic beeswax, I'll be honest and say I wasn't really expecting much.
The instructions on the side of the small pot (which I have in front of me, since I don't leave home without one in the summer now) tell you to 'Apply small amount around the bottom of nostrils. Re-apply regularly and after sneezing or blowing nose.' And that's all there is to it.
I regularly apply it throughout the day, particularly if the pollen count is high. Although it's not the most attractive thing to do, smearing beeswax around your nose, I guess it's nicer for other people than sniffing, sneezing and looking all puffy and bloated around your eyes. You can always nip into the bathroom if you are reapplying it - it gives a whole new meaning to powdering your nose!
I have tried Lavender and Pure flavours, and I have to say I prefer Pure. It is unscented and this works better for me, but I think this is personal choice - some people may really like the smell of Lavender but I'd prefer not to smell it all summer long.
You do still need to blow your nose, but you'll see that it's not nearly as bad or as often. I've also found that my ears and throat are less itchy, presumably as less pollen is entering my body.
I've also found that it has really helped with sleeping in the summer, applying it before bed means I won't wake up in the morning feeling like I can't breathe or see!
As you can probably tell, I'm a really big fan of Haymax and have taken to spreading the gospel to other hay fever sufferers. I'm fortunate in that my hayfever isn't as bad as some other peoples, but even if yours is really bad I'd imagine that you could use this in conjunction with other treatments. It's sure to provide at least some benefit.
If, like me, you think you could manage your hayfever if only the damn sneezing stopped, then I'd reccomend Haymax. In my opinion, it's definitely better than lots of drugs.
Having suffered with hayfever since my early 20's I have tried pretty much everything from over the counter hayfever remedies to items which are available by prescription only. Medication combined with all the usual stuff like eating locally produced honey, avoiding going outside when the pollen is rising and falling, showering the minute I get home, etc all mean I generally have a pretty miserable summer !! My hayfever tends to start April time and goes right through to the back end of September and my symptoms which include sore eyes, runny nose or blocked nose, itchy throat, etc all make it something of a miserable existence.
I received a free sample of HayMax and having tried using vaseline at the entrance of my nose I wasn't sure about this product ... vaseline at the entrance of my nose always felt a bit heavy and unattractive. I read the claim that the haymax balm worked as an effective pollen barrier when applied to the bottom of the nose so I decided to give it a go. I applied the product and waited. My first impression was that it was very light which made me question whether I had applied enough so I applied some more. Even after a second application I was struck by how light the product felt and apart from a very slight sheen at the bottom of my nose you couldn't really tell I had anything there. I decided to test the product to the max and took a magazine into the garden where I sat and waited for the eyes to start running, the sneezing to start, etc and I waited and it just didn't happen. Over the course of the next few days I decided to test the product further and reduced the number of anti-histimines I was taking, stopped using my nasal spray and eye drops and amazingly my symptoms of hayfever were gone. I have now used haymax for our last two summers and I can't believe after years of spending a fortune on different medications, etc I have found a product which has more or less banished all my symptoms of hayfever.
I have since recommended haymax to friends, work colleagues etc and they too are amazed at how effective the balm is.
Since I received my original sample, HayMax is now available in pure, lavender, aloe vera and frankincense. As you would expect these are fragranced rather than the pure which has no scent and the aloe vera version is supposed to help soothe a sore nose although I've not tried it.
I would recommend anyone who suffers from hayfever giving Hay Max a go, it really has made such a difference to my summers.
Hay fever or seasonal allergic rhinitis, as it is called, is dreaded by sufferers, and looked on with empathy by others who escape the condition; there is no getting away from the fact that at this time of year it can be a nightmare.
My father suffered with it dreadfully, especially when he was working in London, and commuting home on the train. Lots of other passengers would slide down the windows, and in would come an army of pollen soldiers ready to invade his nose from the meadows and embankments which hugged the tracks, so that by the time he arrived home, miserable and moody, we would all know to keep our distance!
I too suffer, but things are better these days. We have non drowsy anti- histamines for one thing, which in my childhood we didn't, so it was either suffer or dose yourself up and be a zombie!
Now I am not saying the product I am reviewing will cure you, but it may help to have some handy as part of your artillery against pollen.
Hay Max is a natural drug free balm which you can buy from many health food stores, chemists and supermarkets, and it will cost you about £6.80. It is a dinky little pot which weighs nothing and easily slips into your handbag. You can chose from three types, plain, lavender and Aloe Vera. All three work in the same way, it just depends on your personal preference. I actually like the lavender because it is a relaxing fragrance, and you certainly need to calm down when you are having an attack!
Anyone can use this, even pregnant ladies and children, and to use all you do is to smear it at the base of your nostrils on both sides. Don't worry it is invisible being like a wax, and so, discreetly, you can stop the pollen from getting into your nose and triggering all those reactions which make the symptoms so dreadful.
The product is organic too and is endorsed by The Soil Association, and is suitable for use by vegetarians.
It is made from organic beeswax and seed oil, and the beeswax is gathered from wild bees that live in the remote forests in Zambia. Here beekeepers position their hives made from bark, and after about two years they return cropping the beeswax leaving the honey for the bees. This is a fair trade product and they are paid fairly for it. If you are interested in finding out more have a look at the supplier's website.
Now what I do is have several of these all over the house, and in the car and in my bag, because just like reading glasses I can never find them when I need them. I like to have the Aloe Vera one by the bed, because it is very soothing last thing at night if my nose is sore from the effects of the hay fever. If you are not keen on any fragrance choose the natural one which you will hardly know is there.
There is growing evidence that this is a useful tool to have. There have been some studies done including one in the summer of 2004, when pollen counts were very high. Out of a score of 5 most respondents put this at the 3.9 to 4 range, meaning that whilst it didn't stop all the symptoms it certainly worked well, and symptoms were less than in those not using it at all.
I have had a similar result. It helps but you must do some other things if you don't want to be really incapacitated. I think also it is really so dependant on the day. Some days I can be moderately affected, and can put it all to the back of my mind, and others it can be overwhelming. At the moment I am using Hay Max and Piriteze Max (an anti-histamine tablet) with good results. I think the best aspect is the reduction in sneezing, whereas it doesn't seem to affect the eye soreness at all.
I have used this for 2 seasons now and I feel it is an enhancement to an established drug regime, as certainly for me using it alone would not be adequate, but a mild sufferer may find relief with this exclusively.
So with my nurse's hat on here are my top 10 suggestions for combating hay fever.
1. Keep all windows closed. I know these sounds dreadful but no fresh air- no pollen, so use a fan to keep cool on days with a high pollen count. Open the windows when the count is low or when it is raining as this will be lower in pollen. Pollen is often higher in the morning and in the late afternoon.
2. When you go outside and return home remember your clothes will be full of pollen, so take them off outside your bedroom, and thoroughly shower and wash the clothes. If you go to bed without washing your hair, the pollen in your hair will fall onto the pillow and irritate you in the night! Watch your partner here. My husband is a demon with the petrol strimmer in our house in Scotland. This machine of torture covers a wide area with pollen, including himself, so when he comes in from this activity he has to be hosed down if I am to remain sneeze free!
3. Start taking your antihistamine at least a month before the season starts; this is important as to be the most effective levels should be high in the blood when the trouble begins.
4. If you can buy some local honey and eat some every day as research shows this will help. I can't do this as I really hate honey, but if you can so much the batter.
5. Always wear sunglasses, especially choose the tight close fit type as these stop pollen getting in your eyes.
6. Use Haymax, or if you feel this is too dear, petroleum jelly like Vaseline can also be effective when applied to the base of the nose.
7. Buy some really nice soft tissues. Waitrose do some lovely camomile ones and their soft balm tissues are a godsend for sore noses.
8. In the hay fever season reduce your dairy consumption as this will reduce mucus in the nose.
9. If counts are high I never hang out my washing as it will come in full of pollen.
10. If all this fails see your GP as you may need to consider some other treatments.
I think Hay Max is a dinky little pot of treatment for this dreadful state of affairs, it isn't cheap and Vaseline works just as well, but this is aesthetically nicer and more conveniently packaged. It is only a small part of the war on Pollen, but it helps.
I think it also helps to determine which types of pollen you are most allergic to by seeking medical advice, as you can then prepare for it as not every sufferer is sesitive to grass pollen, it can also be weeds, trees etc and the exact timing of these at their peak can be different. Tree pollen is more a problem in the spring.
It is also important to watch out for signs of sinus infections as hay fever can make these more likely. If you have a very stuffy nose, a fever, or any flu like feelings with the symptoms which don't clear up in a few days then you may need antibiotics.
Hay Max is an organic, natural, drug-free hayfever balm that blocks pollen entering the nose.