Hay fever is an allergy triggered by pollen, starting with tree pollens in March, grass pollens which peak in June/July and weed and nettle pollens in August. They can all cause itchy eyes, nose and throat, sneezing and a blocked nose. They can also cause skin rashes (hives) and trigger asthma attacks.
Fortunately, hay fever can be helped by three different treatments, all of which are available to buy cheaply over the counter. A once daily, non-drowsy antihistamine tablet (e.g loratadine or cetirizine), nasal spray (e.g beclomethasone) and eye drops (e.g. sodium cromoglycate). In peak season, all three of these may need to be used in combination to control the symptoms.
They all work most effectively when used every day, not just when the sun shines. So if you are a sufferer, it is time to stock up on these treatments and before your symptoms return, start taking the antihistamines daily. As the pollen count rises, you may need to add in the nasal spray +/- eye drops and these treatments should be continued through until the end of your hay fever season.
Treatments are available for children and pregnant women, but please seek the advice of your pharmacist.
For further information about hay fever:
For information on inexpensive supplies of the above treatments: