YOUTH MATTERS Rowena Heal...The abrupt appearance of hayfever is not to be sniffed at

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I’m not one to complain about the weather...Okay, who am I kidding? I’m British, of course I complain about the weather. But at least I used to have a favourite season.

For me, summer is best. Sun, sea, sand, yes please. But to my utter dismay, everything has suddenly been ruined by an abrupt appearance of hayfever.

At 20 years old and after 19 sniffle-free summers, I thought I’d escaped this horrendous condition. But now I awake to daily sneezing fits, a constant runny nose and tear-filled eyes. I can’t handle this – I love summer, I don’t want to loathe it!

Initially I looked on the bright side. If I awoke to itchy nostrils, I thought at least it was going to be nice. Wrong!

Apparently hayfever sufferers still suffer without sun. Increased itching doesn’t equal better weather, therefore I can’t distract myself with sunbathing or Mr Whippys because, guess what? It’s raining!

Instead I’m inside, the rain is pouring and so are my eyes. My Mr Whippy on the beach is exchanged for Ben and Jerrys on the sofa, I’m looking an incredible shade of semi-skimmed, and suddenly I’m as bunged-up and bored as I am during winter.

I’ve never felt more sorry for those who endure this annually. Pocket tissues are my new best friend and I’ve become the office ‘sniffler’. When all is quiet, I’ll release an almighty sneeze, closely followed by fog horn-style nose blowing. In December it’s to be expected, but using half a pack of Kleenex by lunchtime in August is ridiculous.

It’s causing chaos with my make-up regime too. I’ll apply a coat of mascara and sneeze, leaving brilliant black smudges under my eyes, which, as I wipe away, clears the rest of my slap and I have to start again. I’ve adapted my morning ritual judged on sniffle levels. No sneezes - apply when ready. Sneeze city - wait at least ten minutes and DO NOT apply mascara with an itchy nose: guaranteed sneeze fest!

Being a student, I find it difficult to justify spending money on relief, so let’s hope the fighting approach works in time for next year.