Living: Bubbleheads

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Good news for sneezers

They run the risk of being sneered at as bubbleheads, but hay fever sufferers can find relief from runny noses, swollen eyes and itchy throats by donning a Martianesque headpiece called the Hincherton Hayfever Helmet. It consists of a clear plastic dome, enclosing the head, into which filtered, pollen-free air is wafted at low pressure. The battery-powered fan, electrostatically charged filter and helmet weigh about 4 Ibs. and are attached to the body by a harness or belt. The inventor, British Architect Richard Hinchliffe, 45, himself a longtime hay fever sufferer, claims that wearing the helmet for 30 minutes can provide a half-day's relief. Self-conscious sufferers, Hinchliffe suggests, can "customize their helmets with headsets or Deely Bobbers." Some 535 HHHS have been sold in the U.K., and 100 in the U.S., where one costs $189 plus shipping. The spacy headdress, which has not yet received medical endorsement, may be particularly good news for hay fever victims who suffer side effects from standard drugs like antihistamines. They may have a silent summer, though; the dome makes conversation difficult.