Hay fever

Hay fever is a common allergic reaction to pollen from grasses, trees, weeds, and shrubs. Tiny pollen particles meet the lining of the mouth, nose, eyes, and throat causing irritation which activates the allergic reaction.

In a perfect world, the most effective way to manage hay fever would be to avoid contact with pollen. However, avoidance is difficult for people with an allergy to substances in the air, particularly during the summer months when you are more likely to spend time outdoors.

man blowing nose near trees and shrubs

What are the symptoms of hay fever?

The symptoms of hay fever include:

  • Red, itchy, and watery eyes
  • Frequent sneezing
  • Blocked or runny nose
  • Congestion
  • General feeling of being unwell

What time of year is hay fever worse?

Hay fever symptoms can worsen depending on the time of year and the type of pollen you are allergic to. Trees tend to release their pollen during March, and this continues until early May however grasses release pollen from late May to early August and weeds/certain shrubs release their pollen in the late summer. This means that for particularly unlucky individuals the hay fever season can last from March until October.

What does the pollen count mean?

The pollen forecast gives you an idea as to how much pollen is in the area and is categorised from low to very high. 

The pollen forecast is usually given as:

  • LOW: Fewer than 30 grains of pollen in every cubic metre of air 
  • MODERATE: 30-49 grains of pollen in every cubic metre of air 
  • HIGH: 50-149 grains of pollen in every cubic metre of air 
  • VERY HIGH: 150 or more grains of pollen in every cubic metre of air

There is no cure for hay fever however in most cases the symptoms can be controlled using medication available from our pharmacy team. 

There are many different treatment options available, these include tablets/capsules, syrups, nasal sprays, and eye drops. Using a combination of medication has proven to be the most effective way to control hay fever symptoms e.g. using tablets with a nasal spray.

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