Stay sneeze-free this summer with our hay fever top tips

3 May 2022

When the sun comes out and flowers start to bloom, many of us unfortunately start to experience hay fever.

Hay fever is a common condition also known as seasonal allergic rhinitis. It affects around 1 in 5 of us in the UK and can affect people between March and September. Hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen; the fine powder produced by trees, flowers and weeds.

Symptoms include sneezing, itchy eyes, a runny nose and headaches. Although hay fever is often harmless, unfortunately there is no cure, so healthcare professionals suggest avoidance of pollen alongside managing symptoms with over-the-counter treatments available from pharmacies and supermarkets. These include antihistamine tablets, nasal sprays and eye drops.

Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin CCG Chief Pharmacist Liz Walker offers this advice, “A lot of people still visit their GP for advice on hay fever. However it’s far better to ask your local pharmacist if you’re not sure what treatment is suitable for the symptoms you have. Pharmacists provide free help and advice and you don’t need to book an appointment. We have a range of treatments in stock, from eye drops to tablets and these are often far cheaper than prescriptions.”

“You could always try these handy tips to help reduce the symptoms of hay fever:

  • If possible, stay indoors when the pollen count is high. To check the pollen count in your area, the Met Office provides up-to-date information on the pollen forecast for five days ahead:
  • Plan outdoor activities for afternoons. Pollen levels are at their highest in the morning, rising with the warming air, and again in the evening when it’s cooling down. Keep windows and doors closed during these times.
  • Don’t hang clothes out to dry as they may pick up pollen.
  • Protect your eyes and mouth. Consider wearing wraparound sunglasses and use petroleum jelly around your nostrils to trap pollen.
  • Shower and change when you come indoors to wash pollen off.
  • Avoid large grassy areas, woodland, cutting the grass, pollutants and car fumes.
  • Ask your local pharmacist for advice on suitable over the counter treatments. These can also be bought during your weekly supermarket shop, so make sure you have sufficient supply.

Page last updated 3 May 2022