Ah, the British summertime ... sunshine, picnics, the smell of freshly cut grass ... But if the great outdoors leaves you with sneezing fits and puffy eyes, you’re likely to suffer from hay fever. Antihistamines are a good option to dampen down symptoms, but many people prefer natural or drug-free remedies to relieve symptoms. Our pharmacist will talk you through some options.
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. Nasal barriers 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.
Soothing the eyes can reduce eye symptoms - Optrex Sore eye drops contain witch hazel to clean and soothe the eyes, and eyelid wipes can remove pollen from the eyes to prevent ongoing irritation.
Herbal, homeopathic or traditional Chinese medicine may help. A. Vogel Pollinosan Hay Fever Tablets are homeopathic and treat symptoms associated with allergies to grass or tree pollen, dust and pets. A. Vogel Stinging Nettle Urtica Drops contains a natural antihistamine to treat hay fever and other allergies. Acupressure bands such as the Qu-Chi band are designed to apply pressure to the large intestine 11 (LI-11) acupoint on the elbow. Acupuncturists believe stimulation of this acupoint pulls energy away from the head, nose, face and throat.
If you’re not getting on top of your symptoms, you can try medicated products targeted at each symptom, or antihistamine tablets. If these don’t help or you’re unsure about your diagnosis, do book an appointment with your doctor. They will assess your symptoms and what you’ve tried already, and work out the best solution for you. You should see your doctor urgently if your asthma is made worse by an allergen, or if you don’t have an asthma diagnosis, but are wheezing, short of breath, or have a cough for more than three weeks.