Far from looking forward to the summer, long-term hay fever sufferers often dread the warmer months when the pollen count rises and their allergy symptoms return. While some people’s symptoms improve with age, others continue to suffer year after year, so it’s understandable that they would look for a pollen allergy cure – but does it exist?
Pollen allergy symptoms
In hay fever sufferers, the body mistakenly treats pollen as a threat, and its response triggers blood vessels to swell. Common pollen allergy symptoms include:
- blocked or runny nose
- red watery eyes
- scratchy, sore throat
- coughing and sneezing
In some people, hay fever can also cause pain in the temples, earache, tiredness, and a loss of smell. Though it shares many of the same symptoms as the common cold, hay fever is a seasonal allergy, and lasts much longer than a cold.
During hay fever season, asthma sufferers might also experience a tight chest, shortness of breath, coughing and wheezing. Always remember to have both your inhalers with you, in case your pollen allergy should trigger an asthma attack.
Types of pollen allergy
Though hay fever is considered a seasonal allergy, the time of year you are affected will differ depending on what type of pollen you are allergic to. There are three main types:
- tress, such as cedar, birch, and oak
- weeds, like ragweed or sagebush
Grass pollen is the most common type of allergen, which is why seasonal rhinitis (inflammation in the nose) is referred to as ‘hay fever’. If your allergy is caused by grass then you are likely to suffer symptoms between May and July. For trees you may notice it is worse between March and May, and for weed pollens, June to September.
It is useful to know which type of pollen you are allergic to, so you can prepare to deal with the symptoms in advance, and plan for spending more time inside. An allergist will be able to tell you which type of allergy triggers your symptoms.
Treatments for pollen allergy
The best way to treat pollen allergies is to avoid the trigger, but it isn’t practical to spend months indoors, so it’s understandable that long-term sufferers would look for alternative treatments. The good news is that there are lots of allergy medications available to buy online to treat the symptoms of hay fever – these include
- steroid nasal sprays
- eye drops
Antihistamines are a preventative measure to stop the outbreak of symptoms like red, itchy eyes and a blocked, runny nose. Prescription antihistamines, like Fexofenadine, work by blocking the effects of histamine, which causes swelling. One tablet can provide relief from hay fever for up to 24 hours, and can be used every day.
Steroid nasal sprays
Nasal sprays are designed to reduce swelling using steroids – a man-made version of a natural hormone found in the body. You can use sprays, like Mometasone, once a day to alleviate sneezing, itching and a blocked, runny nose. We recommend starting this treatment at least two to three weeks ahead of the hay fever season.
Red, watery eyes are often the first sign of hay fever, but eye drops can provide some relief. One to two drops, four times daily can soothe, tired, sore eyes.
Immunotherapy – a pollen allergy cure?
For hay fever sufferers with severe or persistent symptoms, who are unable to control their allergy with medication, immunotherapy could be the answer.
Immunotherapy involves being given regular small doses of the allergen (pollen grains), over many years, as an injection, or small drops or tablets under the tongue. Injections must be supervised by a doctor in a clinic, but drops and tablets can be taken at home.
The idea is to get your body used to the pollen so your immune system doesn’t react so severely in the future. Whilst it’s not a cure for hay fever, immunotherapy can make your symptoms milder and therefore easier to treat. This kind of treatment takes place over many years and is only available in some areas – contact your GP for more information.
Home remedies for hay fever
There are lots of simple changes you can make at home to cut down on your exposure to pollen. Keeping your doors and windows shut where possible will keep pollen out, but you will also be bringing it in to your home without realising, so make sure you:
- wash your clothes daily
- dry your clothes inside
- clean regularly with a damp cloth
- use a vacuum with a HEPA filter
HEPA filters are highly efficient air purifiers that capture pollen, dust mites, dirt, and bacteria. If you suffer from an allergy like hay fever, check to make sure that your vacuum cleaner and air conditioning unit is fitted with an air purifier. Most modern cars also have some kind of air filter fitted to keep pollen and dust out of the cabin.
If you are planning a day out, wear wraparound sunglasses to protect your eyes, and check the pollen count before you set off so you can prepare. Most forecasts include a pollen count, and the Met Office has a dedicated pollen forecast on their website.
Living with pollen allergy symptoms
Immunotherapy is the closest thing to a pollen allergy cure, but it’s a long process and you can expect to wait years before you see a noticeable difference in your symptoms. In the short term, home remedies and medication can help to make life with hay fever more bearable in the warmer months, so you can get back to enjoying the summer.
Buying hay fever medication online is quick and easy. Once you’ve chosen a treatment, we will check to make sure that it’s suitable for you, in a short online consultation. We only prescribe medication where it is safe to do so, and everything we sell is approved by the UK’s regulator for medicines and healthcare products (MHRA).