Hay fever is a condition that affects approximately 1 in 5 people in the UK and is caused by a pollen allergy. This means that sufferers notice a varying degree of severity in their symptoms and it’s usually a seasonal thing, depending on exactly what kind of pollen you’re allergic to. Symptoms include sneezing, itchy eyes and a blocked nose, which can be treated effectively using one of our medication options.
- Controls allergic reactions
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- Effective hay fever treatment
- Effective hay fever treatment
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- Treats itching, sneezing and runny nose
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- Antihistamine medication to treat hay fever
- Relieves runny nose, itchy eyes and sneezing
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- Nasal spray to relieve blocked or runny nose
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- Antihistamine medication
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What is hay fever?
Hay fever (medically referred to as seasonal allergic rhinitis), is an allergy to pollen that is very common and affects about 20% of people in the UK. It usually first occurs in childhood, but can develop at any age, and symptoms include sneezing, a blocked or runny nose, itching in the eyes, ears, throat or lips, coughing, tiredness and wheezing.
These symptoms occur in the case of most allergic reactions (such as an allergy to animal fur) when the body produces the chemical histamine. In the case of hay fever, histamine is produced when the person comes into contact with pollen and the body releases antibodies to try and fight it off.
Unlike some other allergies, hay fever is not normally noticeable year-round because it’s all to do with pollen and the density of it in the air. In Winter, when there is little pollen around, hay fever sufferers will be able to go about their daily life without noticing any symptoms. But in Spring and Summer when new plants, flowers and grass are growing, the pollen count in the air is extremely high and sufferers will likely notice persistent and uncomfortable symptoms.
What causes hay fever?
Hay fever is caused by pollen that triggers an allergic reaction in the body. Most people are not allergic to all pollen, but have an intolerance to certain types (which is helpful to identify). About 90% of hay fever sufferers in the UK are allergic to grass pollen, which is unfortunate because it’s hard to avoid, particularly in the summer months. The other pollens that people can be allergic to are weed pollen (from nettles and dock for example) which is also rife in summer, and tree pollen, which tends to peak in the early Spring.
It’s not clear why some people are allergic to pollen and others not, or why people can develop it at any time, but there are certain risk factors that seem to make the immune system more likely to react. This includes a family history of hay fever, exposure to tobacco during childhood and certain existing conditions such as Asthma.
How can I treat hay fever?
In an ideal world, the best way to avoid the symptoms of hay fever is to avoid the allergen altogether (which is, in this case, pollen). But of course, that’s not practical or normally possible so you may wish to seek medication to reduce the symptoms of hay fever. UK Meds offer a range of treatment options, from nasal sprays to eye drops to tablets, which relieve the discomfort of hay fever and help you to go on with your day.
While some treatment options directly target the affected area (nasal sprays to reduce swelling in the nasal passage, for example), some medications work to prevent the allergic reaction in the first place. These are called antihistamines, and they inhibit the function of histamine, which causes the symptoms of hay fever.
Although it’s almost impossible to avoid pollen completely, there are ways to try and reduce your exposure to it such as shutting windows and doors, vacuuming your house regularly, avoiding very grassy areas and fitting a pollen filter on your car to stop it entering through the air vents.
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