Hay Fever / Rhinitis / Allergy

Hay fever is caused by an allergy to pollen. Some of the common symptoms related to this are blocked or a runny nose, and itchy eyes. Hay fever is also known as seasonal allergic rhinitis. Treatment can include antihistamine nasal spray or a steroid nasal spray.

  • Affects about 2 in 10 people in the UK
  • Develops in children and during teenage years

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Hay Fever

5 treatment(s) for Hay Fever / Rhinitis / Allergy

  • Anti-allergic medicine
  • Reduces the symptoms caused by allergies
  • It is a non-drowsy medicine

  • Anti-allergic medicine
  • Reduces the symptoms caused by allergies
  • It is a non-drowsy medicine

Avamys 27.5mcg spray
  • Reduces the symptoms of allergies
  • Available as nasal sprays and nose drops
  • It is a non-drowsy medicine

Nasonex 50mcg spray
  • Reduces the symptoms of allergies
  • It is a steroid
  • Available as a nasal spray

Opticrom Allergy Drops
  • It is an anti-inflammatory eye drop
  • Reduces the symptoms of allergies
  • If the eyes do not better after 2 days, see a doctor

DescriptionCausesTypes of treatmentQuestions and answers

Hay fever is commonly referred to as allergic rhinitis. It often first develops in children and returns for a season each year. Hay fever also tends to run in the family. If you already have asthma, the symptoms may worsen due to hay fever.

It is a very common condition that produces symptoms very similar to those experienced during a cold. It develops when triggered by a specific airborne substance, such as pollen, which is the most common substance causing hay fever. It can be known to spring up during a certain time of year, the timing of such would depend entirely on the what allergen/substance that individual person reacts to.

When the body becomes exposed to certain substances, it will naturally release histamines which have the purpose of protecting you from harm. However, they also have the potential to induce further symptoms that can be uncomforting.

Some of the most common symptoms of hay fever include:

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Watery eyes
  • Blocked or a runny nose
  • Itchy nose and/or throat
  • Decreased sense of smell or taste

More serious symptoms such as headaches, facial pain, insomnia, and fatigue can also occur but are less likely to do so. Some people misconstrue hay fever as a person being allergic to hay and this, in turn, causes them to gain a fever. Hay rarely acts as an allergen and fever is not a symptom. Hay fever is not a contagious condition but can make a person feel extremely miserable and run down.

To learn more about hay fever, see the comprehensive patient information leaflet

Hay fever only occurs once your body has been exposed to allergens that irritate your body. Generally, these allergens are harmless but your immune system will mistake it for a threat and react by causing hay fever. There are triggers for hay fever that you can come across seasonally or all year-round.

Some of the most common seasonal triggers include:

  • Tree pollen
  • Grass pollen
  • Ragweed pollen
  • Fungi and mould spores

Some of the hay fever triggers which can occur all year-round include:

  • Dust Mites
  • Cockroaches
  • Pet dander (from birds, cats, or dogs)

There are also irritants that can lead to hay fever developing such as cigarette smoke, exhaust fumes, and perfumes. Once you have come into contact with an allergen and it has begun to trouble you, your body will produce an antibody called immunoglobulin (IgE) which attacks the threat and releases the chemical known as histamine in the process. It is this chemical which causes the symptoms.

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The best way to control symptoms is to completely avoid allergens that are prone to causing hay fever. This can, however, be very hard to control depending on your environmental factors. You would need to speak with a doctor and daily measures may need to be undertaken to give yourself the best chance.

The severity of the condition and symptoms can be reduced with a decreased exposure to pollens. When the count is high in the atmosphere, follow certain points:

  • Keep doors and windows closed
  • Stay inside the house (as much as possible)
  • Avoid cutting grass and camping
  • After being outdoor shower and wash your hair
  • Wear wraparound sunglasses when out of the house

There are many different forms of medicine which can effectively battle the effects of hay fever, the most popular being antihistamines. All the different forms of medicine we stock for this condition are:

Antihistamines – Usually come in the form of a pill but are also available as a nasal spray or eye drops. They can help relieve symptoms of a runny nose, itching, and sneezing. They also work by blocking the chemical histamine which causes the symptoms of hay fever. We stock two different types of nasal antihistamines: fexofenadine and Xyzal.


Corticosteroids – These are steroids. They come in the form of a nasal spray or a pill depending on whether it is a nasal or oral corticosteroid. These treatments work by decreasing inflammation caused by hay fever, and in turn reducing nasal itchiness and runny nose. We stock two types of corticosteroids, Avamys and Nasonex.

Decongestants: These forms of medicines are available as either liquids, nasal sprays, or pills. They aren’t prescribed as frequently as other forms of treatment, as they run the risk of causing harm if used for more than a few days at a time. We only stock one form of decongestant, which is Otrivine.

Mast Cell Stabilisers: These types of medicines work by preventing histamine from being released by ‘mast cells’ within the body. By doing so, any allergic and inflammatory reactions by your body should be reduced significantly. We stock only one form of ‘mast cell stabiliser’, which is Opticrom. 

If hay fever symptoms are not controlled with medication after 2-4 weeks, you should consult your doctor. He might change the treatment. If your course of treatments is working well, continue till the end of the pollen season.                                                                                                                                                  

If you are looking for some expert help, book an ONLINE consultation with our GMC Registered Clinicians at alldayDr.com.

Patient discretion and confidentiality top the priority list at alldayDr.com!

Is there a cure for hay fever?

To put it bluntly, no there isn’t. It is an immunological disease which currently has no cure. It can, however, be controlled effectively through techniques or medications which are widely available.

What is an allergy?

‘Allergy’ is used to describe an extreme reaction of hypersensitivity. If you had a certain food or substance that triggered your hay fever, it would do so extremely quickly after coming into contact with it. As an example, if you were to a wheat product (a common trigger for certain people) which made you develop sinus issues hours after eating, you would not be classed as allergic to this food; you’d be more intolerant or hypersensitive to it.

How can I differentiate between allergies and a common cold?

Allergies will tend to last far longer than a cold, sometimes up to several weeks. If you pick up on the fact that you become affected by the same symptoms between a specific time period, year after year, then this may be a clear sign of an allergy. Symptoms such as a persistently sneezing, having an itchy nose, and having watery eyes are more associated to allergies than they are colds. 

What is it that causes my allergies to flare up during spring?

This will most likely be due to pollen. Every species of plant will release pollen at a certain point in the year. For instance, trees usually come first and release pollen in the early spring, followed by grasses in late spring/early summer, and weeds generally release pollen during the autumn. However, the timing depends on your location and the climate.

If you are looking for some expert help, book an ONLINE consultation with our GMC Registered Clinicians at alldayDr.com.

Patient discretion and confidentiality top the priority list at alldayDr.com!