Understanding and Managing Hay Fever
What is hay fever?
Hay fever (also known as seasonal allergic rhinitis, and which you might also see as ‘hayfever’) is a very common a type of allergy. It’s caused by pollen – a fine powder that sheds from grass, trees and weeds – and so tends to be much more prevalent during the ‘pollen season’ months of March to September (spring and summer in the UK).i
If you experience hay fever symptoms, you’re certainly not alone. In fact, roughly 10 to 30 per cent of adults in the UK suffer from this allergy – and up to 40 per cent of children.ii
Read on to learn all you need to know about hay fever, from common hay fever symptoms to tips on managing hay fever in your daily life.
You can also discover more about other types of allergies – including other types of allergic rhinitis.
Who is at risk of developing hay fever?
Hay fever affects both adults and children, but it usually first develops in childhood (typically around age six) or during adolescence.ii You’re more likely to develop hay fever if other family members also have it. People with asthma or eczema are also at a higher risk of getting hay fever.ii
What are the main hay fever symptoms to look out for?
Everyone experiences hay fever symptoms differently. Some people may only experience mild symptoms that come and go, while others can have severe symptoms that stick around throughout pollen season.ii But anyone with hay fever knows that no matter how mild your symptoms are, they can still be extremely annoying. Hay fever can leave you feeling tired, groggy or just a bit off-colour – and even get in the way of enjoying life.
Regardless of how severe your allergy is, if you suffer from hay fever, you’ll most likely experience some or all of the following common hay fever symptoms:i, iii
- Itchy eyes or throat
- Blocked or runny nose
- Itchy, watery, red eyes
- Headaches and/or blocked sinuses
- Fatigue (tiredness)
- Post-nasal drip (mucus running down the back of the throat)
People who also have asthma may also:iii
- Experience shortness of breath
- Have a tight feeling in the chest
- Wheeze and/or cough
Some of these hay fever symptoms are very similar to the ones you might get if you have a common cold or the flu. If you’re not sure whether your symptoms are due to an allergy or illness, check out our simple Symptomcheck comparison table. When in doubt, you should always consult a pharmacist, the NHS website or your GP.
Hay fever treatment options
There’s no doubt that hay fever can be extremely frustrating, no matter how mild your symptoms may be. Thankfully for those of us who live with allergies, treatment options for managing hay fever are readily available – so you can get back to feeling like yourself again as quickly as possible.
If you have hay fever, some common treatments include:iii
- Nasal spray – A daily corticosteroid nasal spray like Pirinase Hayfever Relief can help to relieve all the major hay fever symptoms for up to 24 hours. Unlike antihistamines, which block histamine production, Pirinase blocks six of the key allergy-causing substances released by your body during an allergic reaction, providing effective relief against major hay fever symptoms – including itchy, watery eyes, sneezing and nasal congestion.
- Antihistamines – Antihistamine medications like Piriteze Syrup and Piriteze Tablets help to block the effects of histamine during the body’s exposure to an allergen that causes hay fever symptoms. What’s more, Piriteze is suitable for adults and children over the age of six years – so it’s great for little ones with hay fever or other allergies like dust, mould or pet allergies.
- Daily saline washes – You can use a 100% natural nasal wash like PiriNatural Breathe Clean every day to help gently remove allergens like pollen or dust from your nasal passages, leaving them clean and moisturised. What’s more, since it’s 100% natural, a daily saline wash like PiriNatural can be used in addition to any of the above medicines you may already be using to help ease your symptoms.
Everyone’s experience of hay fever is different, so before using any allergy treatment medication, be sure to speak to a pharmacist to check that the product is right for you. You can also consult the NHS website or your GP for allergy treatment advice.
Tips on managing hay fever
As well as the above hay fever treatments, there are lots of simple things you can do to help ease your hay fever symptoms when pollen season strikes. For example, on pollen-heavy days it can be helpful to:i, iii
- Monitor pollen forecasts – Check the pollen count daily to see if you’re at risk of a hay fever flare up. When possible, stay indoors when the count is high. You can also use our Piri Pollen Calendar to keep an eye on when certain pollen types are most prevalent.
- Remove pollen as soon as you can – On pollen-heavy days, always shower, wash your hair and change your clothes as soon as possible after arriving home. You should also avoid drying your clothes outdoors on these days.
- Keep windows and doors shut – This is an easy way to keep pollen out of your home during the high season.
- Do some spring cleaning – Be sure to vacuum your house regularly and dust surfaces with a damp cloth to help catch any pollen that may be floating around.
Does your child suffer with hay fever? Discover our tips for parents on managing kids’ allergies.
Sources: Clicking any of the links below takes you to an external website that is independently operated and not managed by GSK. GSK assumes no responsibility for the content on the website. If you do not wish to leave this website, do not click on the links below.
- Hay fever (allergic rhinitis). Allergy UK. https://www.allergyuk.org/information-and-advice/conditions-and-symptoms/11-hay-fever-allergic-rhinitis. Accessed 25/01/21.
- Hay fever. Patient Info. https://patient.info/allergies-blood-immune/hay-fever-leaflet. Accessed 25/01/21.
- Hay fever. NHS. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/hay-fever/. Accessed 25/01/21.