Hay Fever Guide: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

by | Oct 26, 2022 | Ailments

Defining and Treating Hay Fever

After a cold winter this year, we all have been looking forward to the warmer Spring and Summer weather. However, with Spring also comes annoying bouts of allergy symptoms commonly known as hay fever. Hay fever can affect any age group or gender, making it uncomfortable to live everyday life.

What is Hay Fever?

Hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis, is a common allergic response that your immune system produces. It can cause sneezing, fatigue, facial pain, runny noses and itchy, watery eyes. 

Hay fever is commonly caused by environmental allergens such as pollen, dust mites, mould and animal fur or hair. These causes are found exponentially more often during the springtime when grass pollen is most commonly found. The symptoms of hay fever are commonly mild and are usually manageable on their own. However, if symptoms are persistent for more than four days a week to four weeks ongoing, please consult your doctor or a medical professional. 

To treat hay fever you should:

  • Use a nasal spray daily
  • Take an antihistamine tablet 
  • Use anti-fragrant washing powder and household cleaners 
  • Purchase anti-allergy bedding options
  • Use eye-drops

Finding the right Hay fever medication:

With so many hay fever medications available in the market, it can be hard to choose the most appropriate one. Hay fever tablets are common and can be found in varying levels of effectiveness and strength. 

Not all medications may be effective for your hay fever symptoms, and it may take some trial and error to figure out which hay fever medication works for your symptoms.

Many forms of medication to treat hay fever can be bought over the counter, with more severe symptoms requiring prescriptions or a consultation with a GP.

Available medications include; tablets, syrups, nasal sprays and eye drops, which can provide localised relief to whichever specific hay fever symptom you are experiencing. 

Medication ingredients:

Many hay fever tablets contain the ingredient of antihistamines, which is found in many cold/ flu medications. It works to stop the production of histamine, which is the chemical your body produces to induce an allergic reaction to an allergen. Antihistamines work to stop the production of histamine, providing relief while reducing symptoms. 

Nasal sprays commonly contain Mometasone which helps decongest the nasal region. Nasal sprays can be bought both over the counter and can be prescribed. These forms of nasal sprays are often used preventatively before hay fever season to reduce the severity of your hay fever symptoms before they begin. They also can be used on a daily basis. 

Important notes:

If your child is under two years old, they are unable to take an antihistamine due to the sedating effect of antihistamines. This has been found to cause respiratory issues, coma or death.  

For pregnant women, hay fever symptoms are not dangerous. However, it can impact your wellbeing due to potential lack of sleep and general discomfort. If you are pregnant, you should reach out to medical professionals to discuss appropriate medications. Some newer forms of antihistamines, eye drops, corticosteroids and decongestants are unsuitable for pregnant  women. 

If your symptoms persist or it is difficult to avoid potential allergens, please consult a doctor or an allergy specialist to help you manage and reduce your allergy symptoms. 

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Medically reviewed by Dr Matt Cullen
MBBS, FRANZCP

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