Hay fever is a common allergic condition.
Symptoms of hay fever include:
- a runny nose
- itchy eyes
The symptoms of hay fever are caused when a person has an allergic reaction to pollen.
Pollen is a fine powder released by plants as part of their reproductive cycle. Pollen 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.
There is currently no cure for hay fever but most people are able to relieve symptoms with treatment. Treatment options for hay fever include antihistamines, which can help prevent an allergic reaction from happening and corticosteroids (steroids), which help reduce levels of inflammation and swelling. Many hayfever symptoms can be controlled with over-the-counter medication at your pharmacist.
Helpful ways to reduce your exposure to pollen:
- Check the BBC Pollen Forecast. The pollen forecasts can help hay fever sufferers to plan their activities and medication. If the forecast is high, think about keeping indoors, with the windows shut.
- Reduce the time you spend outdoor during the peak time of 7am – 10am and 4pm – 7pm when the pollen is at its highest level.
- If you have been outside you might find it useful to change and wash your clothes and wash exposed areas, including your hair.
- Keep up-to-date with your symptoms and maybe based on previous years’ experiences, consider taking medicines slightly ahead of the peak pollen season.
- NHS Choices – Living with Hay Fever – Your questions answered.
- Patient UK – Includes information on symptoms, avoidance methods and overview of treatment options
- BBC Hayfever – Information on symptoms and treatments
- Asthma Org – looking at causes and ways of controlling and treating hayfever.
Videos from NHS Choices:
Hay fever is an allergy to pollen that affects around one in four people. An expert explains how it’s diagnosed, the symptoms and treatment.