Introduction

Hayfever
Hayfever

Hayfever is usually worse between late March and September, especially when it's warm, humid and windy. This is when the pollen count is at its highest.

Check if you have hayfever

Symptoms of hay fever 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

Hayfever will last for weeks or months, unlike a cold, which usually goes away after 1 to 2 weeks.

How to treat hayfever yourself

There's currently no cure for hayfever and you can't prevent it. But you can do things to ease your symptoms when the pollen count is high.

Do:

  • put Vaseline around your nostrils to trap pollen
  • wear wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen getting into your eyes
  • shower and change your clothes after you've been outside to wash pollen off
  • stay indoors whenever possible
  • 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

Don't:

  • cut grass or walk on grass
  • spend too much time outside
  • keep fresh flowers in the house
  • smoke or be around smoke - it makes your symptoms worse
  • dry clothes outside - they can catch pollen
  • let pets into the house if possible - they can carry pollen indoors

Allergy UK has more tips on managing hayfever.

A pharmacist can help with hayfever

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

  • itchy and watery eyes and sneezing
  • a blocked nose

Find a pharmacy.

See a GP if:

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

Treatments for hayfever from a GP

Your GP might prescribe steroids.

If steroids and other hayfever treatments don't work, your GP may refer you for immunotherapy.

This means you'll be given small amounts of pollen as an injection or tablet to slowly build up your immunity to pollen.

This kind of treatment usually starts in the winter about 3 months before the hayfever season begins.

What causes hayfever

Hayfever is an allergic reaction to pollen, typically when it comes into contact with your mouth, nose, eyes and throat. Pollen is a fine powder from plants.

 
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The information on this page has been adapted by NHS Wales from original content supplied by NHS Choices.
Last Updated: 26/10/2018 14:12:40