Hay Fever Season

Before you visit your doctor with hay fever, there are many things you can try first to make things better.

Hay Fever Season
Say goodbye to itchy eyes

If you think you are unwell, please see your own doctor. The below is for people who are not very unwell and are suffering from typical hay fever symptoms such as runny nose, itchy watering eyes and sneezing, caused by exposure to pollen.

Before you visit your doctor with hay fever, there are many things you can try first to make things better. Starting with the basics there is actually loads you can do to minimise your exposure to pollen (the thing that causes hay fever!) such as:

• Avoiding grass!, sounds simple but you'd be surprised the amount of people I speak to that don't even consider adapting their usual day to day when the pollen comes out to play. Especially open spaces, early morning, evening, if it's just been mowed or when the pollen count is high

  • If you've been out and covered in pollen, showering and washing your hair can help get the pollen off you so it doesn't continue to trigger your symptoms.
  • Shutting the windows can help keep pollen out when the pollen count is high.
  • Bring back the mask!!! - any type of barrier can help stop the pollen get in - rubbing vaseline on nostrils for example
  • Avoid drying washing outdoors when the pollen count is high.
  • There are websites you can use to monitor the pollen count such as the Met Office and plan your day accordingly. If you are exceedingly sensitive to pollen you may have to delay whatever non essential trip you planned until the pollen is manageable, or just deal with the symptoms. Sometimes just being mentally prepared helps.


I'm a prescriber !!!!

The great news is that you have access to pretty much all of the medication you may need to manage hay fever without ever having to see a doctor in the UK. Only the most extreme of cases would need anything further, and generally they are not considered unless all of the following options have been given a good go. Some of the medicines may still need a prescription, but there are many pharmacies who will prescribe it for you (and redirect you to a doctor if they feel it is not safe for them to do so.)

In terms of what works best, it's currently considered that steroid nose sprays - such as Fluticasone, Mometasone are first line. Even though they are steroids, they are safe because very little of it is absorbed into your whole body. You have to take them regularly for them to work, and you may not notice that they work straight away, which is why many people think they don't work, but if you give them time they usually do. They take a few weeks to reach maximum effect. Once they are working you can continue then for 2 months or so, then give it a try without them, you might be ok, till next year!

The next best would an antihistamine nose spray such as Azelastine Hydrochloride. These work faster than steroid nose sprays, but aren't as effective. I believe these are prescription only - so you'd need to find a pharmacy that provides that service.

After that there are oral antihistamines such as Loratadine, Cetirizine and Fexofenadine - all available without prescription which I think most people are familiar with. These can be bought cheaply in bulk online. It's thought they work better when taken regularly, instead of just as and when. Anti histamines can also come in eye drops like Olopatadine, but this is prescription only. Antihistamines orally can be effective but not as reliably as the steroid nose spray. There are also other anti allergy eye drops like Sodium Cromoglicate which again, some people find useful and this is available over the counter without prescription.

As you can see there is lots you can get stuck into and other ports of call before contacting your GP. Ofcourse if it doesn't help your GP would be more than happy to hear from you, but I'm betting for a significant percentage of people trying this first will make hay fever misery a thing of the past!

Tenuous link I know, but it's pollen season... TIME TO ADAPT :D