Hay Fever Treatments

We know patients are struggling with the high pollen count.

There are lots of self care treatments you can try without needing a consultation or prescription from the surgery.

Top tips for dealing with hay fever symptoms

  • Clear your nose with a saline wash from the chemist – as well as making you more comfortable, it may mean you need to use less nasal spray and/or antihistamine medicine.
  • Put Vaseline round your nostrils to trap pollen before it gets into your nose and airways.
  • Change your clothes and have a shower when you come home, to wash off any pollen.
  • Try to keep windows and doors shut as much as possible.

Medications from the supermarket or pharmacy


Antihistamines are cheap and fast-acting. They come as tablets, liquid, or a nasal spray, and should take just an hour or so to work.

Antihistamines help to ease hay fever symptoms and so reduce the risk of pollen allergy triggering your asthma.

Antihistamines are useful if you have mild hay fever symptoms that come and go.

Find the right antihistamine for you

Your pharmacist can help you find the right antihistamine for you.

  • Own brand or non-branded antihistamines are cheaper than branded ones and work just as well.
  • Ask about non-drowsy versions.
  • If the antihistamine you’re taking isn’t working, ask about other options.

Steroid nasal sprays

Steroid nasal sprays unblock your nose. They probably work the best out of all the hay fever treatments. But it can take some time to feel the benefits, so don’t expect to see immediate results.

Nasal sprays use tiny amounts of steroids to reduce the swelling in your nose so you can breathe more easily.

Breathing through your nose rather than your mouth moistens and filters the air, so it’s less likely to irritate your sensitive airways.

Steroid nasal sprays can also help reduce sneezing, itching, a runny nose and itchy eyes.

You need to make sure you take your nasal spray correctly or it won’t work.

Give your nasal spray the best chance of working

You should notice the most effect from your nasal spray after two weeks.

If you know when your hay fever usually begins, start using a steroid nasal spray about two weeks before.

This means the nasal spray will be working most effectively when you start to get hay fever symptoms, so you can get the benefits straight away. If you don’t think it’s working, see your GP or ANP

  • If you’re already having symptoms, it's still worth starting a nasal spray.
  • If you get nosebleeds, or any other side effects, talk to your pharmacist or GP/ANP about trying a different medicine.

Eye drops

Eye drops can help to soothe itchy, runny eyes. Some steroid nasal sprays do this job too, so you may not need both.

Speak to your ANP / GP if your hay fever isn’t improving with the above.