Hay fever
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Hay fever

Girl sitting in sunny meadow sneezing.

Hay fever (called ‘allergic rhinitis’ by doctors) can make your life miserable and over-the-counter antihistamines sometimes don't stop it.

Here at Dr Morton’s - the medical helpline© you can:


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Dr Morton's Prescription© for hay fever

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Dr Morton's Prescription© for hay fever and itchy eyes

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Hay Fever Symptoms

What causes hay fever?

Hay fever is a bit of a misnomer, as it has nothing to do with hay and it does not cause fevers! It is actually caused by a pollen allergy, so ‘allergic rhinitis’ is a better name for the condition. It is a common allergy that affects about 1 in 5 people in the UK, and impacts work, school, exams and social lives. Thankfully, there are treatments available that can help.

When pollen lands on the sensitive membranes which line the nose, eyes and airways, it triggers a chain reaction that causes irritation and swelling.

Types of pollen that cause hay fever

Grass pollen allergy is the commonest cause of hay fever, but other types include tree pollen, and pollen from flowers and weeds. This is why hay fever typically occurs in the summer months. It is such a significant problem that the pollen count should be featured in news and weather reports. Anything above 50 grains per cubic metre of air is considered a high pollen count.

Other common causes of hay fever

Hay fever is a seasonal type of allergic rhinitis, but substances like house dust mite and animal dander can cause hay fever symptoms to persist all year round. Occupational allergens, like sawdust, strong chemicals and flour, can cause the same symptoms while you are at work.

How do you diagnose hay fever?

Usually you don’t need any formal testing to diagnose hay fever, as a doctor will often be able to tell from the symptoms you report, and how you answer their questions.

However, if you’re not responding to first-line treatments and the cause of your allergy is still unclear, you may require a skin prick test or a blood test to identify what you’re allergic to.

Is hay fever genetic?

Hay fever does tend to run in families. Interestingly, people who suffer from hay fever also commonly suffer from asthma and eczema. This is a phenomenon that doctors call ‘atopy’, as all three conditions are interlinked.

Hay fever treatment

People with hay fever are always advised to keep away from the substance that causes them problems, but if you’re suffering from an allergy to pollen or dust mite, avoiding something that is around you all the time can be extremely difficult.

If this sounds familiar, a type of medication called antihistamine may be very beneficial. You can get brands like Piriton over the counter, but medications like these can cause drowsiness. You may already have tried the over-the-counter medications without any success, but with better antihistamines being available only by prescription, you may need a doctor’s intervention in order to proceed onto the next level of treatment.

Dr Morton's Prescription©for hay fever contains an excellent antihistamine called Fexofenadine, which has a much lower risk of causing drowsiness than the older types of antihistamine. The pack also contains a nasal spray containing Fluticasone (a steroid) that relieves runny noses by reducing swelling.

Dr Morton's Prescription©for hay fever and itchy eyes is perfect if you’re experiencing red, itchy, watery eyes as well as other hay fever symptoms, as it contains both the medications in the above pack, as well as Olopatadine antihistamine eye drops to cool and soothe your symptoms.

Unlike many over the counter products, Dr Morton’s Prescriptions contain a whole month’s supply.

Do antihistamines suppress the immune system?

Absolutely not. Antihistamines suppress the production of histamine, but they do not compromise your body’s ability to fight infections.

How do I prevent hay fever?

There are a few things you can do to minimise the impact of hay fever:

This page was last updated on 30/03/2016

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