Return to index
Watery nasal discharge; sneezing; itchy eyes, nose, throat; intermittent bilateral blocked nose. Common. May be seasonal (hayfever) or perennial. Hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen (of grasses, weeds or trees) or fungal spores. Timing of symptoms is a clue to the allergen responsible, for example:
Hay fever, asthma, food allergy and eczema are related allergic conditions; the tendency to develop them (atopy) seems to run in families. Hay fever can affect exam performance, and often makes asthma symptoms worse.
Allergy UK https://www.allergyuk.org
Allergy UK Professional https://www.allergyuk.org/health-professionals
Mild symptoms can usually be relieved using over-the-counter (OTC) antihistamine tablets, nasal sprays and eye drops; more severe symptoms may need treatment with a corticosteroid nasal spray or a combination of corticosteroid nasal spray and antihistamines. Corticosteroid sprays/drops for seasonal rhinitis should be started 2 weeks before symptoms begin and used regularly. Persistent symptoms not relieved by the above treatments may warrant referral for immunotherapy treatment.
The best way to prevent an allergic reaction is to avoid the allergen responsible. This is not always easy or even possible.
Dust mites and pets
Dust mites, too small to see, can breed in the cleanest house, pets can be hard to avoid and animal dander finds its way into public transport.
NHS. Prevention: Allergic rhinitis https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/allergic-rhinitis/prevention/
Advice to patients
National Pollen and Aerobiology Research Unit University of Worcester Pollen information, forecasts and calendar
Practice Nurse featured article