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One in four people in the UK are affected by seasonal allergic rhinitis, which is known as hayfever. Symptoms include frequent sneezing, a runny nose and irritated or itchy eyes. You can find out more about hayfever symptoms from NHS Choices.

Living with hayfever

95% of hayfever sufferers are allergic to grass pollen, although tree pollen, mould spores and weed pollen can also cause symptoms. Trees release pollen from March to early May, grasses from late May to August. Weeds release pollen later in the summer. You can use the Met Office pollen calendar to find out more about the yearly timings of the release of different types of pollen. You may find that it is possible to identify patterns in your hayfever by keeping a diary of your symptoms for a couple of years. A skin prick test or blood test may also help to identify which types of pollen cause your symptoms.

Hayfever is not necessarily a condition you will always suffer from. Some patients report their symptoms easing later in life and others report first experiencing symptoms as they get older. NHS Choices has published the story of a hayfever sufferer and her thoughts on her treatment.

This factsheet from Allergy UK includes useful information on managing the condition and tips on how to avoid the allergic trigger, which is often pollen. Their One Airway, One Disease report also provides information on hayfever and allergies, including a map of hayfever and asthma hotspots in the UK.

You can also find out from the Met Office about how pollen allergies can affect your pets.

Treatment options

Various over the counter treatment options are available for hayfever. You can read more in detail about several treatment options from NHS Choices.  We now supply several prescription treatments through our online prescriber service. Many patients use antihistamine tablets to ease their hayfever symptoms, especially symptoms like itching, sneezing and watery eyes. You can read more about antihistamines here. Some patients use corticosteroid nasal sprays or drops, which can be effective at relieving nasal symptoms like a blocked nose. Another treatment option is corticosteroid tablets, which can provide rapid short-term relief from symptoms, for example for a special event. Other options include nasal decongestants, eye drops and immunotherapy.

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