Hay Fever

What is Hay Fever?

A person with hay fever or seasonal allergic rhinitis reacts to pollen from trees, plants and flowers.


When pollen counts peak during the spring and summer, the condition is typically at its peak, which can make symptoms of the condition more severe. However, it can still affect some people year-round. Pollen counts are higher on hot, dry, and windy days, so individuals may experience worse symptoms.


Upon contact with pollen, a person's body may experience cold-like symptoms. Chemicals are released from the nose, eyes, mouth and throat, resulting in an allergic reaction.


As a result of hay fever, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Itchy throat and roof of the mouth

  • Itchy nose

  • Blocked sinuses

  • Watery eyes that may be itchy or red

  • Sneezing

  • Earache and headache

  • Runny nose

  • Sinus pain or pressure

  • Itchy skin

  • Post-nasal drip, which is when it feels like you have mucus running down the back of your throat

  • Shortness of breath, wheezing or coughing

  • Itchy ears

  • Fatigue

  • A cough

  • Blocked nose

  • Allergic shiners, which are swollen skin under your eyes, which may be purplish

  • Loss of smell


Hay fever can harm asthma, leading to a feeling of tightness in the chest, wheezing, coughing, and difficulty breathing.


Often, a doctor may not be required to diagnose hay fever. During an online video consultation, one of our doctors can ask about your symptoms, the seasonal patterns of your symptoms, and other questions about your health. This information is typically all that is needed to diagnose hay fever.


Although a skin prick allergy test is not usually necessary for typical hay fever symptoms, if your symptoms are unusual, your doctor may suggest additional tests, such as blood tests.


A doctor should be consulted if:

  • If over-the-counter medicines do not alleviate your symptoms

  • You have severe symptoms

  • You experience symptoms all year long

  • If you experience side effects from over-the-counter medicines

  • Hay fever is making your asthma worse


Allergic reactions to pollen can lead to hay fever. This happens when your immune system mistakes pollen for a threat and produces antibodies to defend you. As a result, your eyes, nose, mouth, and throat have inflammatory chemicals, causing hay fever symptoms.


Many different varieties of pollen may cause allergic reactions, the most common being grass pollen. Other types of pollen include

  1. Grass pollen (from May to July)

  2. Tree pollen (from February to June

  3. Weed pollen (from September to December


You may have the symptoms year-round because of an allergy to another allergen, like dust mites, mould spores, or pet hair.

Risk factors

Your chances of developing hay fever may be higher. These include:


  • If you have a family history of allergies, such as hay fever, you are more likely to develop allergies yourself. This is due to genetics, as allergies can be passed down from generation to generation.

  • It is more likely that you will suffer from hay fever if you have asthma

  • When you suffer from other allergies or allergic conditions such as eczema, you are more likely to develop hay fever

  • You will likely develop hay fever later in life if born during a high pollen count.

  • If you were exposed to cigarette smoke or diesel engine exhaust during childhood, you are at an increased risk of developing hay fever.

  • If you live or work in an environment where allergens are present

Is Hay Fever Contagious?

It is impossible to catch hay fever from someone else, even if you have similar symptoms due to exposure to the same allergens, such as a high pollen count.


An antihistamine, which can be purchased without a prescription, is the most common treatment for hay fever. It is not a cure, but it helps to control the symptoms and can prevent them from occurring if taken before coming into contact with an allergen. During high pollen count days, it is recommended to take one daily as a precautionary measure.


A pharmacist can advise you on which antihistamines are most suitable for you. In addition to tablets and eye drops, nasal sprays are also available.


If you take specific steps, you can lessen your reliance on hay fever medicine.

  • There are several remedies for hay fever, including:

  • After spending time outdoors on days when the pollen count is high, it is important to shower and wash your hair.

  • Consider wearing wraparound sunglasses or a broad-brimmed hat while outdoors or driving.

  • You regularly clean your home to reduce the amount of pollen inside.

  • Avoid hanging your clothes to dry outdoors when the pollen count is high.

  • When the pollen count is high, it is best to keep windows closed, especially during the morning.

  • Pollen can be caught with a hoover with a HEPA filter

  • You can prevent pollen from entering your car by placing a pollen filter over the air vents

  • Use recirculated air to cool down your vehicle when the windows are closed

  • If there is a high pollen count, avoid gardening

  • Whenever pollen is prevalent, stay at the seaside rather than in the country.

When to see a doctor

If regular antihistamines are inadequate for your hay fever symptoms, You may require more potent treatment.

Other hay fever treatments or prescription medications may also be recommended or prescribed by your doctor.


These might include:

The use of steroids, including injections and tablets


A doctor may prescribe these if antihistamines do not work for you or are unsuitable.


If you are suffering from a blocked nose, nasal sprays may be used to provide relief. These sprays reduce inflammation and can be taken over an extended period.


It is recommended to only take tablets on a short-term basis due to their side effects.

  • Immunotherapy


You may be referred for immunotherapy if other treatments do not provide relief. With this approach, you will be exposed to small amounts of the allergen to help your body build up a resistance to it, which can reduce or even alleviate your symptoms. This process is sometimes referred to as desensitisation.


A successful treatment can last for years, but people with extreme symptoms are usually the only ones who try it.


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