What is hay fever

What is hay fever?
Hay fever is caused by an
allergy to pollens. Grass
pollen is the most common
cause (May to July) but
other pollens such as tree
pollens (March to May)
and fungus spores (August
to September) can also
cause symptoms.
What are the symptoms
of hay fever?
Common symptoms are
a runny and itchy nose,
blocked nose, sneezing,
itchy and watery red eyes,
and an itchy throat,
although you may not get
them all.
Asthma symptoms may
get worse if you already
have asthma. Some
people have asthma
symptoms only during the
hay fever season.
Should I avoid pollen?
It is impossible to totally
avoid pollen but you can
reduce symptoms if you
follow these suggestions:
 Stay indoors as much
as possible, and keep
windows and doors
 Avoid cutting grass,
large grassy places, and
 Shower and wash your
hair after being
outdoors, especially
after going to the
Wear wrap-around
sunglasses when you
are out.
Keep car windows
closed, and consider
buying a pollen filter for
the air vents in your car.
Common treatments are
an antihistamine medicine
and/or a steroid nose
spray and/or eye-drops.
Antihistamines ease
most of the symptoms and
usually work within an
hour. They can be taken
just on days when you
need them or every day if
symptoms occur each day.
Steroid nose sprays
clear nose symptoms and
can also ease eye
symptoms. It takes a few
days to build up to full
effect. So start taking it a
week before the hay fever
season begins if you know
that you usually get
A steroid nose spray tends
to be the most effective
treatment when symptoms
are more severe and can
be used in combination
with antihistamines when
symptoms are really bad.
Eye-drops are useful
when the main problem is
itchy eyes, but do need to
be used every day.
Treatments are available
from your local pharmacy,
via the Care at the
Chemist Scheme. If you
don’t normally pay for
prescriptions, you won’t
have to pay for hayfever
treatments at the
If you have any questions
please ask your local
pharmacist or speak to
your GP.
Patient Advice