Get effective hayfever treatment from our hayfever specialist in London and the UK.
Hayfever is a type of allergic rhinitis triggered by breathing in inhalant allergens like pollen or mould spores. The allergy often flares up at certain times of the year, when there is a lot of pollen in the air, triggering symptoms such as watery eyes, a runny nose, and coughing. The condition can be easily managed with appropriate medication and in many cases patients receive a cure.
Hayfever affects between 10% and 30% of all adults and as many as 40% of children. Some people are affected by hayfever all year round, whereas some may only experience symptoms between March and September in the Northern Hemisphere, as this is when the pollen count is at its highest. Patients with hayfever will tend to have more severe symptoms on days that are warm and sunny, particularly in the morning and early evening. Once exposed to pollen, flare-ups of symptoms are likely to last for three weeks before easing off.
While some perceive hayfever as an annual period of minor discomfort, for others it can greatly impact quality of life, if only temporarily. It has been reported that up to 57% of adult patients and up to 88% of children with hayfever have trouble sleeping, which can lead to daytime fatigue and trouble concentrating at work or school. Patients report waking up with nasal congestion, unable to breath through their nose and a runny discharge or postnasal drip.
Allergies causing hayfever are associated with an immune response. In the same way that the body reacts to parasites and bacteria, the immune system perceives pollen as a threat and releases histamine to protect sensitive orifices such as the ears, nose, and throat.
Although symptoms of hayfever can begin at any stage in life, you are more likely to experience it as a child. Studies have shown that the diagnosis of allergic rhinitis in children has tripled since the 1970s, which could be due to increased awareness; however, it is possible that allergies, in general, are becoming more prevalent.
Signs of hayfever
Hayfever symptoms can vary depending on the severity of the allergy. Most hayfever sufferers will find that they have itchy, red or watery eyes; a runny or blocked nose; and bouts of sneezing and/or coughing at times of the year when the pollen count is high. However, other symptoms can include:
- An itchy throat, mouth, nose, and ears
- Loss of smell and/or taste
- Pain around the temples and forehead
In addition, hayfever can also trigger asthma or make existing asthma worse, and some patients report symptoms of sinusitis, which can give you headaches, toothache or pain in the face.
Investigations & tests for hayfever
The Coker Chest Clinic can provide comprehensive yet cost-effective investigations into all allergies, including hayfever.
Diagnosis of hayfever can be achieved through an analysis of the patient’s symptoms, plus a blood test to check for allergen-specific antibodies. In 80% of cases, it is determined that the patient does not have an allergy, but instead another medical condition. If this is the case, we conduct further investigations to confirm this diagnosis and prescribe the appropriate treatment.
Antihistamines are a popular and cost-effective method of treatment for the symptoms of hayfever. Available as a tablet, liquid or nasal spray, antihistamines are usually the preference for those with mild symptoms that do not persist for long periods of time.
Steroid sprays are another form of treatment. These are available as a nasal spray, which unblocks the nose and helps you to breathe with less difficulty. The amount of steroid medication present in these nasal sprays is minimal, which is why the patient may not feel the benefits straight away; however, it is an effective treatment for moderate to severe symptoms of hayfever.
Other ways of managing symptoms of hayfever during high pollen count days are:
- Avoid going outside when the count is high
- If you must go outside, avoid walking near or on grass
- Wear a pollen mask
- Shower thoroughly
- Wash the clothing that you’re wearing and avoid leaving it on an outside washing line
- Wash your pets or wipe down their fur with a microfibre cloth when they enter the home
- Apply an allergen barrier balm around your nostrils
- Sleep with your windows closed
- Vacuum carpets and wash blankets and bedclothes
Conditions related to hayfever
- Allergic conjunctivitis
- Atopic dermatitis
- Histamine intolerance syndrome
- Infective rhinitis
- Vernal Keratoconjunctivitis (VKC)
Book your consultation
To arrange a telephone, video or face-to-face consultation with our specialist consultant in allergic diseases, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.