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Hay fever can ruin summer for many people – if you’re a sufferer, it can be hard to avoid the triggers for this allergic condition. However, there is plenty you can do.

Hay fever is caused by an allergy to pollen and around one in five Brits suffer from the condition. Symptoms, which can vary in severity and are dependent on weather conditions and pollen count, often include sneezing, a runny or blocked nose, itchy, red and watery eyes or a cough.

Patients who have eczema or asthma are more likely to suffer from hay fever. If these patients find their hay fever symptoms troublesome, often their chest or skin will also flare up.

If you think you have hay fever, your first port of call should be your local or online pharmacy, as many cases can be treated by using over-the-counter medication.

Antihistamines are available in both tablets and liquid form and can be used either as required or on a regular basis. Frequent sufferers may find regular treatment more beneficial to keep the symptoms at bay. For more severe cases, prescription strength antihistamines may be available.

Eye drops and nasal sprays are also available over-the-counter and can be combined with antihistamines or taken on their own. As with antihistamines, prescription strength treatment is available for more troublesome symptoms.

You should also take steps to reduce sufferers’ exposure to pollens, especially young children. Simple measures such as keeping windows closed at night, or the car window closed whilst driving can be effective. Don’t let children play in fields or large areas of grassland and ensure they are given a bath and change of clothes after they’ve been outdoors.

Whilst common, hay fever symptoms can be distressing. Your local or online pharmacist is able to provide advice on treatment that will settle most symptoms. If these haven’t helped, speak to your GP or online doctor to discuss prescription treatments.