Hay fever

What is hay fever?

Avoiding the cause
Avoiding pollen may not always be possible. Grass pollen particles are airborne and very tiny, so even if you live in a town or city you can't really escape. Knowing what type of pollen causes your hay fever, and when, may help you plan trips away and holidays.
Antihistamines
One of the most common treatments for hay fever, antihistamines are usually effective at treating mild to moderate symptoms such as itchy eyes and sneezing. Most antihistamines can be purchased without a prescription. Ask your pharmacist for advice. They may be taken after symptoms have started. Most are taken on a once-daily basis.
Nasal Sprays
Nasal sprays are also used effectively to treat symptoms of hay fever. Many nasal sprays, including ones which contain steroids can be purchased without a prescription. Ask your pharmacist for advice.
Immunotherapy
Immunotherapy is a long-term treatment which helps reduce your body's reaction to allergy. It contains a small amount of the allergen that you are allergic to - this helps your body to overcome your allergy by teaching your immune system to react to pollen in a more normal way. This re-education of your immune system takes time, but results have the potential to last after treatment has stopped. Immunotherapy may be particularly helpful when antihistamines and/or nasal sprays have failed to adequately control your allergy symptoms.
Be prepared
Hay fever symptoms can be controlled. If your hay fever is NOT controlled, you and your doctor can work out the best treatment plan for you. Some hay fever treatments may take a long time to work, so it is important to consult your doctor well ahead of the hay fever season. Together, you and your doctor can work out a treatment plan to help control your hay fever symptoms.
Last updated: 2017.12.06