Marlene Hochstrasser Independent Allergy Nurse- Asthma & Rhinitis,

Marlene Hochstrasser Independent Allergy Nurse- Asthma & Rhinitis,

Marlene Hochstrasser is the Clinical Director of the Devon Allergy Clinic which was established in 2006. Marlene has kindly provided HayMax readers with some of her expert insight. Check out The Devon Allergy Clinic for lots more helpful information, or to get in touch with Marlene. 

By Marlene Hochstrasser Independent Allergy Nurse RN, Dip Allergy.

The links between asthma and rhinitis are well characterised. The allergic rhinitis and its Impact on Asthma (ARIA) guidelines stress the importance of these links and provide guidance for their prevention and treatment. Despite effective treatments being available, too few patients receive appropriate medical care for both diseases.

Most patients with rhinitis and asthma consult primary care physician; therefore, these physicians are encouraged to understand and use ARIA guidelines. Patients should also be informed about these guidelines to raise their awareness of optimal care and increase control of the two related diseases.

 How to Manage This

The goal of ARIA guidelines is to provide recommendations about the best management options for most patients in most situations. Allergy UK, the leading allergy charity states that the following measures can be helpful:

  • Monitor pollen forecasts daily and stay indoors wherever possible when the pollen count is high (generally on warmer, dryer days). Rain washes pollen from the air so counts should be lower on cooler, wetter days
  • Limit time spent in rural areas. Sea breezes blow pollen inland, so escape to the coast instead.
  • Use a saline nasal wash to remove pollens and allergens.

  • On high pollen days, make sure to shower and wash your hair after arriving home and change your clothing as soon as possible.
  • Keep windows closed when indoors. This is most important early in the morning, when pollen is being released. It is also important in the evening when the air cools and pollens that have been carried up into the air begin to fall to ground level again.
  • If you suffer symptoms indoors, a good air filter should help. Choose one that is proven to trap even small particles (see the Allergy UK website for lists of approved air filters). [Link to Air Purifiers]
  • Avoid mowing lawns or raking leaves yourself. If you must perform these tasks, use a filtration face mask.
  • Wear wraparound sunglasses when outdoors to keep pollen allergens out of your eyes.
  • A hat with a peak or large brim can help keep pollens from your eyes and face.
  • Avoid drying washing on an outdoors clothes-line when pollen counts are high.
  • Pollen counts tend to be high along roads with grass verges (dual-carriageways, motorways). Keep car windows closed and the air intake on ‘re-circulate’ when driving.
  • Try to choose a car that is fitted with an effective pollen filter, or get an in-car air filter.
  • Choose hypoallergenic eye make-up, especially mascara.

Hay fever, dust or pet allergy? Back to school tips!

Hay fever, dust or pet allergy? Back to school tips!

By Joey Mills- author of the HayMax ‘Nasal Bloggage’ series!

It’s coming to that wonderful time of year. Your little treasures will soon be unpeeling themselves from the sofa, unsticking their sugary fingers from their iPads and scuttling back to school leaving a trail of half-eaten food and pre-teen angst in their wake. Hurrah! Finally your house can go back to normal rather than looking like an unused set from the Young Ones!

However we all know you love them really, despite the fact your TV has been set to Tracey Beaker for six weeks. They might be mercifully out of sight upon their return to education but they’ll never be out of mind. Especially if your children suffer from allergies. HayMax have got some top tips for managing your child’s allergies now you can’t be with them 24/7.

Talk To Their Teachers

Now I know what you are thinking. You didn’t even like doing this when you were at school. You’re having visions of sitting down in one of all those all-in-one desk/chair hybrids and being told that “the bell is a signal for me and not you” It may shock you to find out that through adult eyes teachers are just people like you and me. Sitting down with your child’s tutor and informing them of your child’s needs will give you a greater piece of mind when your little ones are on school grounds. Just make sure you aren’t chewing or you might be sent to the head teacher.

Make Sure Your Child Gets Rest

Sleep is vital for all of us, especially a child. But getting a good night’s rest is not easy when allergens attack. To keep your children vibrant and alert for their studies, make sure to create a dust-free environment particularly in their bedroom. We all had our treasured soft toy as a child (some of us still do. What? It’s completely normal!), and it can be hard to ever part your child from their fluffy companion. However cuddly toys can be a magnet for dust so while your kids are at school it makes sense to wash them a few times a week. Curtains, tables, bedsheets and furniture are also all possible dust sites so their room will needs a proper going over often.

Check The Pollen Count

It is crucial to know what you’ll be up against when gauging how severe your child’s allergies can affect them on any given day. The pollen count is available daily during the weather forecast or, if your child won’t tear themselves away from Dora The Explorer (kids still watch that right?) long enough you can find them online or in the newspaper. For when the pollen count is high try some HayMax to put your mind at ease. (Some sufferers are allergic to the nettle, dock and other weed pollen varieties which are prevalent in the autumn months).

Get Into A Routine

Not always easy with all the variables life can throw at you. But try and come up with a routine for those days when Amelia doesn’t want to go to school in her Elsa outfit and Harrison hasn’t superglued himself to the kitchen table. Always make sure to have the right medication in the house, and ensure it is non-drowsy because children don’t need any more provocation to fall asleep during lessons. Try and help your children to consider their allergies part of normal daily life, and not something that becomes a drag.


Childhood is a confusing enough time, with little boys wondering when their trial for Manchester United is going to be and little girls wondering why Justin Bieber hasn’t proposed yet. Don’t let allergies add to an emotionally charged time. Explain the steps you are taking to help them to your child and involve them in the process. The joy of children is they can turn almost anything into a fun creative game so let them be as involved in the fight against allergens as possible. You might just surprise yourself and end up having a little fun yourself. Isn’t that what parenthood is all about?




An Overview of Allergic Rhinitis- Marlene Hochstrasser, Independent Allergy Nurse RN, Dip Allergy.

An Overview of Allergic Rhinitis- Marlene Hochstrasser, Independent Allergy Nurse RN, Dip Allergy.

Marlene Hochstrasser Independent Allergy Nurse RN, Dip Allergy.

Marlene Hochstrasser is the Clinical Director of the Devon Allergy Clinic which was established in 2006. She qualified as a Registered General Nurse & Midwife & has a University Diploma in Allergy from Grenwich University with working links with Allergy UK & the Eczema Society. Her experience was further broadened whilst working as an Intensive Care Nurse at Guy’s Hospital, London. Marlene still maintains her clinical nursing expertise working as an intravenous parenteral nutrition nurse with patients in a home situation.

The Devon Allergy Clinic


Allergic Rhinitis


Allergic rhinitis occurs when someone reacts to an allergen, most often, this is breathed in. Sometimes it is food induced or, occasionally, both. The most common allergens giving allergic rhinitis are house dust mite, pollen, mould and animal dander. Allergic rhinitis is common and affects one in five people. Symptoms include a watery, runny or blocked nose, sneezing, coughing, post nasal drip and itchy running eyes. Allergic rhinitis typically begins in the teenage years and continues into early adulthood. Some people see an improvement in their symptoms as they get older. Allergic rhinitis can run in families and is more common in people with asthma, eczema or food allergies.


A bit more information…


Hay fever is a common term used to describe allergic rhinitis to inhaled pollen from trees, grasses and weeds. Pollen is a fine powder produced by trees and plants so that they can fertilise other plants. There are 3 distinct seasons, early March to May tree pollen. Grass pollen allergy is the most common cause of hay fever and symptoms are worse in May until July when grass pollen levels are highest. Late season August to October can involve weeds, seeds and moulds. Symptoms which affect the individual all year but get worse in the pollen seasons and sufferers can often have multiple allergies. It is important, therefore, to diagnose and treat all potential allergens to relieve symptoms.


Problems it may cause


To the non-sufferer Allergic Rhinitis may seem inconsequential. However, studies have shown that the bothersome nature of allergic rhinitis symptoms (rhinorrhea, nasal congestion and sneezing) impairs the usual performance of daily activities, quality of sleep, cognitive function, work productivity, examination performance  and also has an impact on psychosocial well-being on account  of its increasing prevalence and impact on quality of life (QoL), Allergic Rhinitis is associated with a heavy cost in medical care for both individuals and the society as a whole . Fewer than half (45%) of patients seek medical advice or treatment for their condition; in contrast, most individuals with allergic rhinitis self-medicate using over-the-counter products with antihistamine therapy.


What you can do to help


Symptomatic relief and improved quality of life can be achieved in the majority of patients by using pharmacotherapy appropriately. Mild cases can be managed with either an oral antihistamine or a nasal corticosteroid alone. More severe cases may require a nasal corticosteroid in combination with various agents. Immunotherapy is reserved for a selected group of patients. While all other interventions provide symptomatic relief, specific immunotherapy may have its advantages.  To treat underlying allergic disease, allergen immunotherapy is widely used in Europe but has yet to gain general acceptance in the United Kingdom.

To find out more about the Devon Allergy Clinic, get in touch with Marlene Hochstrasser.

Tel: 07810 750940 / 01803 401001



Pet Allergies and How to Avoid Them

Pet Allergies and How to Avoid Them

By Eliza Galley, Work Experience

As hay fever starts to go out of season, and back to school time is looming, many people forget about allergies that arise all year round. These are allergies such as dust, mould and pet allergies. An estimated 10%-15% of the entire population are allergic to their pets. Many people think that pet allergy symptoms are caused by the animal hair only- however it is also because of proteins found in the saliva and urine of the pet. Most domestic animals, including miniature pigs, hairless mice, chinchillas, dogs and cats will have potential to trigger allergic reactions.

Misconceptions About Pet Allergies

A common misconception is that certain breeds of animals (such as domestic cats or dogs) are “hypoallergenic,” but a non-allergic dog or cat does not exist. Again, this is because allergenic cat dander is made up of proteins in saliva of the cat (when a cat licks itself, the saliva dries and becomes airborne flakes) so a hairless cat is not hypoallergenic – but may be less problematic than a big hairy cat.

With this in mind, many pet owners don’t know how to deal with the issue at hand. Obviously there is the option to give the animal away, but, this can be extremely sad for owners, especially children. So, to help combat the sniffles and sneezing when you’re around your pet try these tips:

Combatting Pet Allergies

-Have an allergy free zone in at least one room of the house- a common place for this is the bedroom. Don’t let your pet into this zone- especially not on the bed or any other furniture.

-If possible, don’t let your pets on the furniture, as their dander and possibly saliva can get onto it and embed its self within the layers. Allergens can remain on furniture for four to six weeks.

-Make sure to vacuum regularly, to get rid of any hair from the floor as soon as possible.

-Aim to get a house without a wall to wall carpet, as, again, the allergy inducing factors of the pet can get into all the layers. If a carpet needs to be put down, aim to get a rug that can be regularly washed in hot water.

-Make sure to wash your pets weekly with a dander reducing shampoo. If your pet really doesn’t like being washed, an easier option is to wipe them down with a hypoallergenic wet wipe.

-Quite an obvious one that many people forget is to always wash your hands after stroking an animal. Also, try your best to avoid hugging or kissing your pet to stop any allergens getting on your clothes or skin.

-Use HayMax around the rim of the nose to prevent pet allergens from entering the body.

Pet Allergies at School

This tips are great for when you have allergies at home, however there is still the problem of pet allergies getting to you in the workplace or at school. To prevent this, even if you don’t have a pet allergy, make sure you and your child have no animal hair on your clothes, as even this can trigger people’s symptoms. Also, many schools now have classroom pets, which, are fun to have around but will cause allergic reactions to happen. If this is the case for your child, it may be a good idea to talk to the school about an allergy free zone where the pet cannot go. HayMax could be brought into school and reapplied throughout the day. This will stop the sneezing and sniffles getting in the way of everyday school life.

Handy links:

Allergy UK tips for a pet allergy

Allergy UK tips for avoiding pet allergy symptoms

Allergy UK tips for dealing with allergies at school



Hay fever ruining your game?

Hay fever ruining your game?

By John at Eye Wear Accessories 

You may have seen some of my ‘hay fever sunglasses’ in a HayMax blog post last year, called ‘6 Stylish Hay Fever Glasses that Pack a Punch Against Pollen’ (read it here). The blog post was so popular with HayMax readers, that I was asked to contribute my own post for 2016!

The summer season with its long daylight hours is the perfect time to get out and enjoy your favourite sport. Many of us like to get out before or after work for a run, horse ride, a cycle ride, or a game of golf or tennis. Unfortunately morning and early evening are also the times at which the pollen count are often at their highest.

For a hay fever sufferer, this means itchy eyes and a constantly running or blocked up nose – symptoms that not only ruin your enjoyment of sport but affect your performance.

Fortunately, there are two effective, drug-free self-help remedies for keeping the pollen out of your eyes and nose.

You can get special hay fever sunglasses from Eyewear Accessories in the UK that act as a barrier to reduce the amount of pollen reaching your eyes. These are like wraparound sunglasses with the addition of a removable gasket that sits around your eye sockets.

Here are a few examples of our glasses in action:

7eye Viento cycling sunglasses Cape windproof cycling glassesAirShield golf sunglasses

You can also spread HayMax balm around the outside of your eye sockets and nose and this will also act as a barrier to trap pollen before it enters your body to create allergic reactions.


Eyewear Accessories Ltd

t: 01392 411 363

Like us on Facebook:

Visit us on Twitter:

Specialists in glasses and sunglasses for Dry Eyes and Wind protection, Hay fever goggles, and Polarized clip on sunglasses.

Popular Cleaning Products That May Exacerbate Allergies

Popular Cleaning Products That May Exacerbate Allergies

By Phoebe Parlade, Penn Jersey Building Services Inc, USA.

HayMax note: This article contains lots of interesting information about chemicals which is universal, although references to government and agencies are for USA.

Many common household cleaning items are subject to little to no oversight by government regulators and third party safety testers, which is why many of them contain synthetic chemicals that can worsen allergic symptoms. The Consumer Protection Agency and the Environmental Protection Agency have paid much more attention to this issue in recent years, and have jointly come up with a set of guidelines concerning which cleaning products to avoid if you have a propensity for allergies. Ammonia, Formaldehyde and Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) top the list.


Ammonia is a natural colorless gas that actually exists in the external environment as well as inside the human body. In proper amounts, it helps the body manufacture proteins and other important molecules, but overexposure can lead to serious negative effects, including lung damage, blindness or even death. Most people are exposed to ammonia by breathing it in their nostrils or mouth, and it can be found in such common household items as fertilizer, dish soap, pesticides and detergent.

Parents with young children should exercise extreme caution around ammonia, but the substance is dangerous to everyone — minor exposure will cause burning and irritation, but major or extended exposure could have very serious consequences.


Formaldehyde is another colorless, flammable gas that is used in several important household cleaning products. It is commonly used in paints and varnishes, and trace amounts can be found in permanent press fabrics like sheets, comforters, blankets and pillowcases. Many household cleaners contain formaldehyde due to its impressive ability to disinfect and wash.

Exposure to formaldehyde can affect the digestive tract and the respiratory system, depending on how it makes contact with the body. When people use cleaning solutions that contain formaldehyde, it often enters the body through the skin — this can lead to uncomfortable irritation and even infection.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

SLS is a chemical that is used as a foaming agent in a wide variety of personal grooming products. It is present in many soaps, body wash solutions, shaving creams, toothpastes and shampoo/conditioners, and it has been detected in many soaps and detergents. The most common symptom of SLS exposure is skin irritation. There are studies that argue for the existence of a link between cancer and SLS, and observational research has determined that SLS may be responsible for certain immunological problems.

Avoiding cleaning products with these substances in them should not be difficult. Natural cleaning solutions are better for our allergies, our bodies, and our homes. Vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice and natural oils are all excellent cleaners that can be found in your kitchen cabinets. Your respiratory system will thank you profusely if you kick artificial cleaning products to the curb this summer.