Hay fever is usually worse between late March and September, especially when it’s warm, humid and windy. This is when the pollen count is at its highest.
Check if you have hay fever
Symptoms of hay fever include:
- sneezing and coughing
- a runny or blocked nose
- itchy, red or watery eyes
- itchy throat, mouth, nose and ears
- loss of smell
- pain around your temples and forehead
- feeling tired
If you have asthma, you might also:
- have a tight feeling in your chest
- be short of breath
- wheeze and cough
Hay fever will last for weeks or months, unlike a cold, which usually goes away after 1 to 2 weeks.
How to treat hay fever yourself
There’s currently no cure for hay fever and you cannot prevent it.
But you can do things to ease your symptoms when the pollen count is high.
- put Vaseline around your nostrils to trap pollen
- wear wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen getting into your eyes
- shower and change your clothes after you have been outside to wash pollen off
- stay indoors whenever possible
- keep windows and doors shut as much as possible, especially when the pollen count is high (early morning 7-9am and evenings 5-7pm)
- vacuum regularly and dust with a damp cloth
- buy a pollen filter for the air vents in your car and a vacuum cleaner with a special HEPA filter
- do not cut grass or walk on grass
- do not spend too much time outside
- do not keep fresh flowers in the house
- do not smoke or be around smoke – it makes your symptoms worse
- do not dry clothes outside – they can catch pollen
- do not let pets into the house if possible – they can carry pollen indoors
Antihistamines and other over the counter products
Please do not contact the GP about simple Hayfever. By going to the pharmacy and buying medication over the counter you will be saving yourself time and money, free up GP appointments for people with urgent needs and help the NHS save money on unnecessary prescription costs.
A box of 30 antihistamine tablets can cost as little as £2, especially if buying non branded products. An prescription for the same medication costs the NHS considerably more.
Many hay fever symptoms can be controlled with over-the-counter medication at your local pharmacy.
- Steroid nasal sprays help to prevent or reduce inflammation in the lining of the nose and some can help to relieve watery eyes. Available from your local pharmacy.
- Antihistamines help to relieve a runny nose, sneezing, itching and watery eyes. Some types of antihistamines make you drowsy and are best taken before bed. Newer antihistamines are less likely to make you drowsy and are a common choice for children and people with milder or occasional symptoms of hay fever. Available from your local pharmacy.
- Decongestant nasal sprays and tablets are used to unblock the nose. They should never be taken for more than a few days at a time. Available from your local pharmacy.
- Eye drops can be used to treat itchy or watery eyes. Available from your local pharmacy.
If none of the above treatments are effective for you, please request a telephone consultation with our clinical pharmacist.