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Top tips for managing your hay fever

The warmer weather can signal the start of allergic symptoms for people with hay fever.  Pollen avoidance can be challenging due to the many different types of pollens from grasses, trees and weeds being released at different times of the year.

However, the good news is there are some simple measures that can help you to reduce your exposure to pollen and to manage symptoms.

Dr Marc Rowland, local GP and Chair of NHS Lewisham Clinical said: "Self-care is a great way to keep on top of your health care needs and take control of managing minor illnesses. Many hay fever treatments are available from your pharmacist, all advice is free and confidential and you don't need an appointment."

Here are Allergy UK's top tips:

  • Start treatment early (using treatments up to two weeks before peak pollen times can help)

  • Wear a hat and wraparound sunglasses to minimise pollen exposure to the eyes

  • Try using a nasal allergen barrier balm that traps aero allergens when applied around the nostrils (not to be used inside the nostrils) – some people find this can help.

  • Monitor pollen forecasts daily and stay indoors wherever possible when the count is high (generally on warmer, dry days). Rain washes pollen from the air so counts should be lower on cooler, wet days

  • On high pollen days, shower and wash your hair after arriving home and change your clothing

  • Avoid drying washing on a clothes-line outside when pollen counts are high

  • Keep windows and doors closed to avoid the amount of pollen that enters your home or workplace

    Antihistamines are usually the first line of treatment as they block histamine release, easing symptoms. A variety of hay fever treatments including tablets, solutions and nasal sprays etc. are available from your local pharmacy. Your pharmacist will be able to offer you advice on over the counter treatment options for hay fever.

    Through the Pharmacy First scheme, if you do not normally pay for prescription charges, any medicine recommended will be free. Hay fever affects between 10-15% of children[i], you can get hay fever medicines for your children free from the Pharmacy through the Pharmacy First scheme. Non-drug interventions can also be used such as douching (washing out) the nose with a saline type solutions available in pharmacy which washes away allergens. 

    Get more information on hay fever and managing your symptoms, and download our hay fever Factsheet on our website,                                                            

[i] Allergy UK research