Hay fever is a common allergic reaction to pollen that affects millions of people around the world. It can cause a range of symptoms, including sneezing, a runny nose, itchy and watery eyes, and a scratchy throat. Hay fever symptoms can be particularly troublesome during the spring and summer months when pollen levels are high.
Causes of hay fever symptoms
Hay fever is caused by an overreaction of the immune system to pollen. When pollen enters the body, the immune system mistakes it as a harmful substance and produces antibodies to fight it. This, in turn, triggers the release of chemicals such as histamine, which causes the symptoms of hay fever.
Treatment options for hay fever
There are a range of treatment options available for hay fever, including tablets, antihistamines, syrups, nasal sprays, corticosteroids, and eye drops. The choice of treatment will depend on the severity of your symptoms and your individual circumstances.
Hay fever tablets are a popular treatment option for people who experience mild to moderate symptoms. These tablets work by blocking the release of histamine, which helps to reduce the symptoms of hay fever. Some of the commonly used hay fever tablets include:
- Cetirizine (Zyrtec)
- Loratadine (Claritin)
- Fexofenadine (Allegra)
Possible side effects of hay fever tablets can include drowsiness, dry mouth, and headache.
Antihistamines are a type of medication that block the action of histamine in the body. They can be taken as tablets, syrups, or eye drops. Some of the commonly used antihistamines include:
- Diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
- Chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton)
- Azelastine (Optivar)
Antihistamines can cause side effects such as drowsiness, dry mouth, and blurred vision.
Note that many of the above medicines are pharmacy-only or prescription-only.
Hay fever syrups are a liquid medication that can be used to relieve symptoms such as sneezing and a runny nose. Some of the commonly used hay fever syrups include:
- Chlorphenamine Syrup
- Loratadine Syrup
Side effects of hay fever syrups can include drowsiness, dry mouth, and stomach upset.
Nasal sprays are a popular treatment option for people who experience nasal symptoms such as congestion and runny nose. Some of the commonly used hay fever nasal sprays include:
- Flonase Allergy Relief
- Nasacort Allergy 24HR
- Rhinocort Allergy Spray
Possible side effects of hay fever nasal sprays can include nasal irritation, nosebleeds, and headaches.
Corticosteroids are a type of medication that can help to reduce inflammation in the body. They are available as nasal sprays or eye drops and can be used to relieve symptoms such as nasal congestion and itchy eyes. Some of the commonly used corticosteroids include:
- Beconase Hayfever Relief Nasal Spray
- Opticrom Hayfever Eye Drops
Possible side effects of corticosteroids can include irritation and dryness in the nose or eyes.
Eye drops can be used to relieve itchy and watery eyes caused by hay fever. Some of the commonly used hay fever eye drops include:
- Optrex Eye Drops
- Maurine Eye Drops
- Optase Eye Drops
Possible side effects of hay fever eye drops can include burning or stinging in the eyes and blurry vision.