Allergic rhinitis, commonly known as hay fever, is a condition where the body overreacts to airborne allergens such as pollen, dust, pet hair, or mold spores. This condition typically occurs from mid-March to May, and potentially up to September, during the allergy season. Tree pollen is a common allergen that triggers hay fever symptoms, such as itchy nose, eyes, and throat, headaches, runny or stuffy nose, fatigue, sneezing, and watery eyes.
To manage hay fever symptoms, it is important to take necessary steps, such as staying indoors on high pollen days, wearing a mask when outdoors, and taking allergy medications as directed by a healthcare provider. Some common hay fever triggers include pet dander, air pollution, pollen, food allergies, dust mites, and mold spores. To avoid exposure to pollen, it is recommended to stay indoors when pollen counts are high, keep windows and doors closed, take a shower after being outside, keep pets clean, and use air filters with a HEPA filter.
In addition to these measures, there are natural remedies and over-the-counter medications that can help alleviate hay fever symptoms. Natural remedies include manuka honey, probiotics, vitamin C, and essential oils like peppermint, eucalyptus, and lavender. Over-the-counter medications such as antihistamines, nasal corticosteroids, and decongestants can also provide relief. Stronger medications, such as leukotriene receptor antagonists and immunotherapy, may be prescribed for severe cases.
There are several over-the-counter (OTC) medications available in the UK that can help relieve symptoms of allergies, including hay fever. Here are some of the most commonly used ones:
- Antihistamines: These are the most common type of OTC allergy medication. They work by blocking the effects of histamine, a chemical released by the body in response to allergens. Histamine causes symptoms such as sneezing, itching, and runny nose. Antihistamines can be taken in tablet, liquid or nasal spray form. Some popular brands of antihistamines available in the UK include cetirizine, loratadine, and fexofenadine.
- Nasal decongestants: These work by reducing inflammation and swelling in the nasal passages, which can help relieve symptoms such as congestion and a blocked nose. They come in the form of nasal sprays or drops. Common brands include Sudafed and Otrivine.
- Eye drops: These are used to relieve symptoms of itchy and watery eyes. They work by reducing inflammation in the eyes. Popular brands in the UK include Opticrom and Murine.
- Steroid nasal sprays: These are available over the counter in the UK and can help reduce inflammation in the nasal passages. They are usually used when symptoms are more severe and persistent. Popular brands include Beconase, Flixonase and Nasacort.
It is important to read the instructions on the packaging carefully and follow the recommended dosage. If you have any doubts or concerns about which medication is right for you, it is always best to consult a healthcare professional
While outdoors, wearing a mask, using allergy medication, and considering allergy jabs can help manage hay fever symptoms. By being proactive and taking necessary precautions, individuals with hay fever can still enjoy the beauty of nature without experiencing any allergic symptoms.
Overall, over-the-counter remedies can be an effective and convenient option for managing hay fever symptoms. However, it’s important to consult with your Pharmacist to determine the best treatment plan for your individual needs.
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