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Hay Fever

Hay fever is a common allergic condition that affects up to one in five people at some point in their life.  Mainly affecting patients from late March to September.  The pollen count is especially high when the weather is warm, humid and windy.

You'll experience hay fever symptoms if you have an allergic reaction to pollen.

Pollen is a fine powder released by plants as part of their reproductive cycle. It contains proteins that can cause the nose, eyes, throat and sinuses (small air-filled cavities behind your cheekbones and forehead) to become swollen, irritated and inflamed.

You can have an allergy to:

  • tree pollen, released during spring
  • grass pollen, released during the end of spring and beginning of summer
  • weed pollen, released late autumn

Symptoms of hay fever

Symptoms of hay fever include:

  • sneezing & coughing.
  • a runny/blocked nose.
  • itchy, watery or red eyes.
  • itchy throat, mouth, nose and ears.
  • loss of smell.
  • pain around the temples and the forehead.  Could also results in headaches.
  • earache
  • feeling tired/fatigued

if you have asthma and also suffer from hay fever, then you may also experience - 

  • tightness around the chest
  • shortness of breath
  • wheeze

It is easy to confuse some of the symptoms with the common cold.  Whereas a cold will only last a couple of weeks at most, hayfever symptoms can be present for months.

Treatment options

There is currently no cure for hay fever and unfortunately you cannot prevent hay fever.  There is however many options available when it come to symptom management.

The severity of symptoms can be reduced dramatically by following the steps below - 

  • Place a small volume of vaseline around your nostrils to reduce the level of pollen being inhaled.
  • Shower and change clothes after being outside to reduce your contact to pollen.
  • Whenever possible you should stay inside.
  • Whenever possible doors and windows should be kept shut.
  • Vacuum regulalry and dust using a damp cloth
  • Try not to cut or walk on grass.
  • Avoid fresh flowers in the house
  • minimise the amout of time spent outdoors.

If these measures do not succeed in preventing the symptoms then there are a variety of antihistamine tablets, eye drops and nasal sprays available which your pharmacist can recommend for you.

Failing this PrivateDoc can recommend a prescription only nasal spray or anti-histamine tablet for you.

NHS Choices - useful information and guidance