Managing Hayfever

The pollen count is at its highest between late March and September. This is when hayfever is usually worse as during that time it is warm, humid and windy.

Hayfever is an allergic reaction to pollen, typically when it comes into contact with your mouth, eyes, nose and throat.

Hayfever symptoms 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
  • headache
  • earache
  • feeling tired

If you have asthma, you might also:

  • have a tight feeling in your chest
  • be short of breath
  • wheeze and cough

Treating hayfever yourself:

There’s currently no cure for hayfever and you can’t prevent it. There are steps which you can take 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
  • stay indoors whenever possible when the pollen count is high-it is useful to monitor the pollen forecast daily
  • Rain washes pollen from the air so counts should be lower on cooler, wet days
  • keep windows and doors shut as much as possible
  • 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.
  • On high pollen days, shower and wash your hair after arriving home and change your clothing.

Steps to avoid include:

  • cutting or walking on grass
  • spending too much time outside
  • keeping fresh flowers in the house
  • smoking or be around smoke – it makes your symptoms worse
  • drying clothes outside – they can catch pollen
  • letting pets into the house if possible – they can carry pollen indoors
  • itchy and watery eyes and sneezing
  • a blocked nose

Further help and advice available from your pharmacist.

Speak to your pharmacist if you have hay fever. They can give advice and suggest the best treatments, like antihistamine drops, tablets or nasal sprays to help with:

See a GP if:

  • your symptoms are getting worse
  • your symptoms don’t improve after taking medicines from the pharmacy

Sources used:

NHS Choices

Copyrighted material adapted with permission from Healthwise Incorporated.