Approximately 10-15% of the population suffer from seasonal rhinitis, otherwise known as hay fever or pollen allergy. It is caused by an allergic reaction to pollen, typically when it comes into contact with your eyes, nose, mouth and throat. It is recommended to try medications that are available over the counter or from your Pharmacist or General Practitioner in the first instance. However, if these treatments fail to control the symptoms there may be other options, book a free consultation to discuss this with one of our medical practitioners.
Procedure Time15 minutes
Full RecoveryVery Soon
RisksVary dependent on the treatment recommended.
Tell Me More
Every year 10-15% of us will be affected by symptoms of perennial rhinitis; more commonly known as hay fever or pollen allergy.
Symptoms include sneezing, eyes itching/watering/redness, runny nose, fatigue, nausea, cough, loss of smell and headache.
Hay fever is similar to every other allergic response in that the immune system will attempt to remove the foreign substance causing the symptoms listed above. However, pollen is harmless to your health and the allergic response is your immune system overreacting. There is currently no cure for hay fever, although the symptoms can be managed effectively with a variety of treatments including anti-histamine tablets, nasal sprays, eye drops, steroids or immune therapy.
What are the symptoms of hay fever?
Although pollen itself is harmless, in hay fever sufferers, it is the body’s immune system that overreacts to the allergen and can cause the following symptoms:
Itchy, red, watery eyes
Runny or blocked nose
Itching of the throat
Loss of smell
Difficulty in breathing
Pollen is a fine powder that is produced by plants, trees, grass and weeds during the Spring and Summer months. Hay fever is usually worst between March and September and can be especially bad when it is warm, humid, and windy. The hay fever season also seems to be getting longer; this is likely due to changes in temperature, weather conditions and increased immune sensitivity in people.
What treatments are available for hay fever?
Hay fever can be treated by using methods to limit pollen exposure, over the counter treatments or by using prescription medication. Although there are many treatments available, there is currently no cure for hay fever and the symptoms may last for several weeks or months.
Limiting pollen exposure
Place Vaseline around your nostrils to trap the pollen.
Wear wrap-around sunglasses to limit pollen getting into the eyes.
Shower and change clothes after being outdoors to wash the pollen off.
Stay indoors whenever possible.
Keep windows and doors shut as much as possible.
Damp dust and vacuum regularly.
Use a pollen/HEPA filter.
Over the counter treatments
Antihistamines: These medications block the action of histamine, which is released by the body when it detects something harmful, or pollen in the case of hay fever. There are many different types and are classed as either drowsy, such as Piriton® (chlorphenamine), or non-drowsy, such as loratadine, cetirizine or fexofenadine. They come in various forms such as tablets, liquids, nasal sprays, or eye-drops. Side-effects can include drowsiness, headache, dry mouth, and nausea.
Steroid nasal sprays: Steroid nasal sprays contain man-made hormones which act in the body to reduce inflammation and swelling. They work on the lining of the nose and reduce symptoms such as sneezing and blocked nose. They can cause some side-effects including dryness, stinging, nosebleeds, or taste disturbance. Some are available over the counter, and some are prescription only.
Eye-drops: If eye symptoms are the main feature, using topical antihistamine eye drops may control the problem. These are also available over the counter or on prescription.
Approximately 10% of hay fever sufferers will not obtain relief by simply using over the counter treatments.
Corticosteroids: Steroids are some of the most powerful anti-inflammatory medications available and they work by suppressing the body’s immune response, thereby reducing symptoms. Steroids may be given orally or by injection.
Am I suitable for treatment?
You may not be suitable for treatment if any of the following apply:
If you are under the age of 18 years.
If you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
If you have had a previous allergy to prescribed medication.
If you have had a recent infection or antibiotic usage.
If you have undergone a recent surgical procedure, including bowel surgery.
If you have a low immune system or are taking medication that lowers your immunity.
If you are taking oral steroids, such as Prednisolone.
If you are taking diltiazem, verapamil, itraconazole, ketoconazole or ritonavir.
If you have high blood pressure or heart failure.
If you are on insulin or other medication for diabetes.
If you have or had a stomach or duodenal ulcer.
If you are known to have glaucoma or have a family member with glaucoma.
If you have a history of a severe mental health condition.