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With the arrival of warmer weather comes the season of sneezes – or, rather the season of hay fever. An irritant to many, it can be hard to avoid the triggers for this allergic condition when the sunshine beckons you outside. However, there is still plenty you can do.

Hay fever is caused by an allergy to pollen. Around one in five Brits suffers with hay fever, with symptoms varying in severity and dependent on weather conditions and the pollen count.

Symptoms 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 flare up also.

If you think you have hay fever, your first port of call should be your local or online pharmacy, as many cases can be controlled 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 from your doctor for more troublesome symptoms, although the medicines available without prescription are generally very effective and most of these started life as prescription-only medicines.

You should also take steps to reduce sufferers’ exposure to pollens, especially young children.

Simple measures may work such as keeping windows closed at night, or the car window closed whilst driving. Don’t let children play in fields or large areas of grassland; give them a bath and change their clothes after they’ve been outdoors.

While common, hay fever symptoms can be distressing. Your local or online pharmacist is able to provide advice on treatment that will settle most symptoms. Our sister company Chemist Direct could also help with their range of over-the-counter hay fever products. Use code HAY10XCD to get 10% off selected hay fever and allergy lines* at Chemist Direct. If either of these haven’t helped, speak to your GP or online doctor to discuss prescription treatments.

*Terms: Valid to 03/07/19 midnight. Excludes delivery. Voucher code is only valid on selected hay fever and allergy lines.