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Hay fever – Our ultimate survival guide

As we move through Spring, many of us will suffer with the dreaded hay fever. Here we’ll discuss what hay fever is and how you can survive this Spring.

Hay fever sufferer

What is hay fever, and what causes it?


Hay fever (also called allergic rhinitis) is an allergic reaction in the nose to environmental allergens. Most commonly it is caused by pollen, but can also be caused by animal hair, dust, and mould. Most commonly hay fever arises during Spring due to the increase of pollen in the air.

Hay fever is when your immune system mistakes harmless things such as pollen as dangerous. Your body will produce antibodies to fight the substances, which trigger your body to release histamines. Histamines cause you to sneeze, itch, and have a runny nose to try and get rid of the things you are allergic to.

What are some common symptoms?

Common symptoms include:

  • Nasal congestion

  • Runny nose

  • Coughing

  • Sneezing

  • Irritated and sore eyes

  • Itchiness in or sore nose, mouth or throat

  • Itchy skin and rash

  • Fatigue

Severe symptoms can also cause poor concentration or lack of sleep. Long term sufferers may also experience permanent damage to their airways.


While symptoms are similar to the common cold, hay fever is not contagious.


How can I manage my hay fever?

There are some steps you can take to manage your symptoms:

  • Stay inside on windy days or immediately after thunderstorms – especially during Spring

  • Check the pollen count before leaving the house, and avoid going outside on high pollen days

  • Wear glasses to protect your eyes from pollen

  • Use dustmite covers for your bedding, and frequently wash your bedding in hot water

  • Wash your hands after touching animals

  • Avoid strong odours and other irritants, as this can make hay fever worse

There is no cure for hay fever, but your pharmacist can help. There are a number of over the counter medications available at chemists that may help relieve symptoms. Come in and see our friendly staff at Galston Village Pharmacy for more information about the different options.

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