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There are several weeks in each year when my productivity drops to zero because of hay fever. I basically can't think about any productive solution for this problem.

I am a programmer. It's not just about my job, I also can't concentrate on anything else in my life and make mistakes that result in loss of e.g. money or change of behaviour. I do try to take a spray for hay fever and the intensity of it is reduced but I still can't concentrate on anything like a normal person can. I feel like my mind is flying in the air and even after 8 hours of sleep, I feel very tired.

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3 Answers

I suffer from very bad hay fever, so I sympathise with you.

The solution I have, which is the only way to get through the worst of it:

  • Antihistamines. Ideally the ones with caffeine, as they tend to counteract the slightly drowsy effect of the medicine (although a stiff coffee would be as good) - It may be that your spray is adding to your drowsiness.
  • Take frequent breaks away from the screen, and place a cold, damp cloth over the eyes for 5 minutes
  • Air conditioning helps, but even simply keeping doors and windows shut will reduce the pollen you inhale
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I agree with Dennis that you should talk to a doctor. Most people with hay fever are bothered by it but it doesn't affect concentration.

Typical symptoms are sneezing, red eyes, itchy eyes, runny nose, etc. Some of these symptoms can be suppressed with medicine and some can be ignored. But something that affects your mental sharpness and makes you tired might be more than pollen.

I do have two productivity comments though:

  1. Are some times of the day worse than others? Try tracking these for a week to see if you can identify the worst/best periods. Then program during the better ones.
  2. Try to see what you can do to relieve your symptoms. It might be something as simple as sipping cold water or a sucking candy.
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This sounds like a medical issue that you should see a physician about. It isn't something that a personal productivity technique is going to resolve.

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I have hay fever as well and there is a limit as to what medicene can do - Definitely see a doctor first but look at @RoryAlsops's answer as well. (I just do not leave large cities) –  Mark Dec 7 '12 at 15:22
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