Everything You Need to Know About Hayfever

Hay fever is a common condition and affects around 1 in 5 people in the UK.

The symptoms of this allergy include a runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes, however, there are many over-the-counter options available to you that can prevent, reduce and relieve the symptoms of Hay fever. Visit your local Alphega pharmacy for advice and information so you don’t suffer this hay fever season.

What is hay fever?

Hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen grains or spores produced by trees, grass, flowers and moulds. It commonly occurs between early spring and autumn but, for those allergic to certain tree pollens, symptoms can start as early as January.

Hay fever

What causes hay fever?

Hay fever is caused when the body's defences overreact to pollen in the air. The pollen causes a release of a substance called histamine from the cells in the body and, as a result, stimulates the allergic reaction that causes many of the symptoms associated with hay fever. The amount of pollen in the air depends on the time of year and the weather.

The pollen and spore seasons

hay fever calendar

Hay fever symptoms can be similar to that of a cold: 

  • A runny or blocked nose

  • Itchy or watery eyes

  • Frequent sneezing

  • An itchy throat, mouth, nose and ears

  • Headaches

 

The higher the ‘pollen count' is, the worse hay fever can be. The pollen count is the number of pollen grains found in each cubic metre of air. Hay fever symptoms tend to begin when the pollen count is over 30. The pollen forecast is usually given as low, moderate, high or very high.

Preventing Hay fever

To avoid exposure to pollen and spores, hay fever sufferers should

  • check the weather reports for the pollen count and stay indoors when the count is high
  • wear wrap-around sunglasses to protect eyes from pollen
  • keep doors and windows shut during mid-morning and early evening, as this is when there is most pollen in the air
  • avoid grassy areas, such as parks and fields
  • get someone else to cut the grass for you
  • change clothes and take a shower after being outdoors to remove pollen
  • keep car windows closed, and consider buying a pollen filter for the air vents in the car
  • keep fresh flowers out of the house
  • not smoke in the house or breathe in other people’s smoke as this may irritate their symptoms

Mould spores also aggravate hay fever. They are released when there is a sudden rise in temperature in a moist environment, so we suggest hay fever sufferers:

  • keep the house dry and well ventilated

  • do not dry clothes indoors, or store clothes in damp cupboards

  • use dehumidifiers to help reduce damp

Summary

Hay fever is a common condition and affects around 1 in 5 people in the UK. The symptoms of this allergy include a runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes, however, there are many over-the-counter options available to you that can prevent, reduce and relieve the symptoms of Hay fever. Visit your local Alphega pharmacy for advice and information so you don’t suffer this hay fever season. Find your local Alphega Pharmacy by searching here.