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What are the most effective hay fever relief treatments?

Hay fever is the most common allergy in the UK and it affects an estimated 13 million people (, 2018). Also known as allergic rhinitis, hay fever is an allergy that is triggered by pollen from trees, grasses and other plants, and it can cause symptoms such as:

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  • Watery, itchy, swollen eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Congestion
  • A swollen or irritated throat
  • Sneezing
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Swollen, blue-coloured skin under the eyes

You can get hay fever at any age, though most people are diagnosed with it in childhood or when they reach their early 20s. If you do have hay fever, you may only be affected by certain types of pollen.

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How to get rid of hay fever

Hay fever can be treated in a number of ways, including hay fever tablets and nasal sprays. It is possible to buy some hay fever medication over the counter or get it on prescription from Instant eCare.

Hay fever tablets

Hay fever tablets on prescription can sometimes be stronger or contain more of the active ingredient than some over the counter medications. Antihistamine tablets are the most common form of hay fever tablets, but you can also get antihistamine sprays

Antihistamines work by blocking a substance called histamine from affecting the cells in your body. There are many different types of antihistamine medications, such as:

Fexofenadine: this prescription antihistamine is generally a much stronger tablet than you can get over the counter, so can be ideal for those that find other medications aren’t effective in controlling their symptoms. However, side-effects may include drowsiness, dizziness, nausea and headaches.

Telfast: this is the branded version of the fexofenadine and, like its unbranded version, offers 120mg of the active ingredient fexofenadine hydrochloride, which is an antihistamine. The side-effects for Telfast may include drowsiness, dizziness, nausea and headache. Telfast is only available on prescription.

Desloratadine: these prescription antihistamine hay fever tablets help to treat the symptoms of hay fever without causing drowsiness. It specifically treats symptoms such as sneezing, an itchy or runny nose, an itchy palate, and itchy, watery eyes. Desloratadine should not be used if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. The side-effects of desloratadine may include fatigue, dry mouth and headaches.

Hay fever sprays

Hay fever sprays, for some, can be the most effective form of medication for treating their hay fever. You can get some hay fever nasal sprays over the counter and on prescription from a pharmacy like Instant eCare.

Nasal sprays usually contain antihistamine or steroid medication. There are many types available, such as Rhinolast, Rhinocort and Dymista. Side-effects for this prescription medication may include sneezing, slight irritation of the skin inside the nose and an unpleasant taste in the back of the mouth.

Steroid nasal sprays are generally only available on prescription and include brands such as:

Rhinocort Aqua: this nasal spray treats symptoms for year-round allergies as well as seasonal allergies. This medication cannot be taken if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, allergic to budesonide, or allergic to any of the other ingredients in this medication. Side-effects may also include sneezing, dry nose and a stinging sensation in your nose.

Beconase Aqueous Nasal Spray: this steroid nasal spray works by treating and preventing inflammation in the lining of your nose, which may occur due to hay fever. This means it relieves symptoms such as an itchy nose, sneezing and nasal congestion. The side-effects of Beconase nasal spray may include a dry or painful throat, nosebleeds, sneezing and, in rare circumstances, you may experience an unpleasant taste or smell after use.

Dymista: a steroid spray that contains the active ingredients azelastine hydrochloride and fluticasone propionate. The former is an antihistamine while the latter is a steroid. These two active ingredients work to block the effect of histamine and to reduce inflammation in the nose. The side effects of Dymista can include nosebleeds, headaches and a bitter taste in your mouth.

Flixonase: the spray helps to treat and ease symptoms of hay fever, such as sneezing, a blocked or runny nose, and itching, swelling or irritation in the nose. Flixonase should not be used if you are allergic to fluticasone propionate or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Hay fever eye drops

Another way of treating the symptoms of hay fever, especially if you suffer from allergic conjunctivitis, is by using eye drops such as Opticrom 2%.  These hay fever eyedrops include the active ingredient sodium cromoglicate, which is an anti-allergic medication that works to stop the substances that cause allergic conjunctivitis.

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How to stop hay fever

Unfortunately, there is no cure for hay fever. However, around half of those who suffer from the allergy do report some improvement in symptoms after several years and around 10-20% of people say symptoms go away completely over time. (NHS Inform Scotland, 2019)

By using one or a combination of the above treatments, you can help manage your symptoms and enjoy your summer.

At Instant eCare, we have a number of prescription hay fever medications, with up to a three-month supply for some treatments. If you put in your order before 4 pm, you can get your medication delivered to you the next day.

When you order your hay fever treatments online with us, we need to conduct a short online consultation or questionnaire – but don’t worry. Everything is kept completely confidential. Only our pharmacy staff will be able to see this information.

Order hay fever medication online.


BBC., (2018). What is hay fever? And how does it affect people?. [Online][Accessed 23 April 2019]. Available at:

NHS Inform Scotland., (2019). Hey Fever. [online] [Accessed 23 April 2019]. Available at:

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