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Hay fever 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.

Hayfever is a condition that can be usually be managed without having to contact the practice. The NHS has classified hayfever as a “self care” problem. This means that where possible it should be treated using over the counter preparations. I will guide you through the symptoms and offer treatments.

Symptoms of hay fever include:

If you have asthma, you might also:

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

Our practice pharmacist gives you a breakdown of over the counter treatments available to purchase from your pharmacy:

There are 4 antihistamines available to purchase from your community pharmacy. Each of these works completely different, so if you have tried one, try the next and so forth. You are likely to find that one works for you and another works for someone else.

The four over the counter antihistamines are

Try one of the above tablets and it should alleviate most of your hayfever symptoms. Once you have found an antihistamine which works for you it is advisable to take this every day during the hayfever season to prevent the symptoms starting.

Eye drops: If you have runny eyes, try sodium cromoglicate eye drops – this comes as own brand but is also an ingredient in opticrom and optrex allergy eye drops. These are safe to use in addition to the tablets.

Nasal symptoms: If you have a runny nose you could add pseudoephedrine to dry the nose, for this reason I often recommend Benadryl plus, which contains acrivastine (an antihistamine) and pseudoephedrine (a nasal decongestant).
If you have a blocked nose you could try a nasal spray. Popular nasal sprays are beconase, flixonase and otrivine (otrivine should only be used for max 7 days).

Non medical tips and advice

If you have tried all the above and are still suffering call the practice. We can prescribe a stronger antihistamine or you may need steroids.

If steroids and other hay fever treatments do not 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 hay fever season begins.


Check the pollen forecast

Shilpa Patel

BPharm, IP

Shilpa Patel is the lead clinical pharmacist and practice partner. She started working at WellBN in 2016 when NHS England started a pilot programme to bring pharmacists into GP practice to help GPS. She has 17 years of experience in community pharmacy. Shilpa...

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