Constant sneezes and a streaming nose can be common in the pollen season. If you suffer from hay fever, or allergic rhinitis in medical terms, you will feel desperate to rid yourself of the tissues and feeling of congestion. Our pharmacist has put together some solutions to ease your nasal symptoms with hay fever.
Nasal lavage or saline nasal sprays reduce nasal congestion and flush away allergens in the nose. Some people love the cleansing action of nasal lavage, for others, the thought of it is simply not for them. They’re a good option if you’re looking for a drug-free remedy or if you’re pregnant.
A steroid nasal spray dampens down inflammation in the nose, suppressing histamine release and reducing the sensitivity to pollen or allergens. It's a good long-term option to help relieve congestion, sneezing, itching, and a runny nose, and you can start it a few weeks before you expect your hay fever to start. Allow five to seven days of daily application for it to get to work. You might need other measures alongside such as antihistamine tablets or nasal decongestants if you’re looking for immediate relief, and you need to continue it throughout the allergy season.
Decongestants provide short-term relief from a blocked nose, which might be helpful if you have an important meeting or Zoom call and need relief within minutes, but they shouldn’t be used long term. They don’t dampen down the immune overdrive that hay fever brings, but instead, they temporarily shrink blood vessels in the nasal passages that cause a stuffy nose. Nasal decongestant sprays could not be used continuously for more than 7 days, since continual use can cause a side effect of rebound congestion once you stop. They are available as a spray or tablet.
Other options to try include topical nasal barriers, which can be used to trap pollen around the nostril, minimising or preventing pollens from going up the nose and provoking an immune response. You could apply Vaseline around the nostrils or Haymax hay fever balm. Drug-free nasal barrier sprays are inert powders or barriers that can be sprayed up the nose, to prevent or minimise pollens from triggering hay fever symptoms and preventing the release of histamine. Becodefencenasal spray is one example.