The Independent Pharmacy

Hay Fever Tablets Vs Injections: Which Is Better?

Scott McDougall
Scott McDougallMPharmDirector & Registered Manager

Reviewed on 8 May 2024

Two of the most common hay fever treatments are hayfever tablets and injections. Both can be excellent choices, but they work quite differently. Tablets offer greater convenience, and affordability, and are generally easier to use compared to injections. However, injections may provide longer-lasting relief for those with severe hay fever.

No matter which route you choose, finding the right hay fever treatment can have an immense positive impact on your daily life during allergy season. Instead of struggling through each sunny day with a fuzzy head and constant sniffles, you can start enjoying the warm weather again without being slowed down.

So, let’s take a closer look at the key differences between tablets and injections to help you decide which option might be the best fit for managing your hay fever symptoms.

Key Takeaways:

  • You can take hay fever tablets anywhere, anytime, without scheduling appointments or travelling to a clinic. Simply pop a pill for quick, easy relief.
  • No special prep is required beyond taking a tablet daily with water. Even kids can manage hay fever tablets independently.
  • While injections are intense options for severe cases, antihistamine tablets effectively control hay fever for most people without harsh side effects.

Hayfever Tablets vs Injections at a Glance

Feature Hay Fever Tablets Hay Fever Injections
Ease of Use Very easy to use: just take a pill with water. More complicated: requires a visit to the doctor for a shot.
Convenience Can be taken anywhere, anytime. No doctor visits needed. Must be administered at a clinic or doctor's office.
Frequency of Use Often taken daily during allergy season. May need shots weekly or monthly during allergy season.
Effectiveness Works well for most people to control symptoms. Provides longer-lasting relief, especially in severe cases.
Side Effects Usually mild, like drowsiness or dry mouth. Can include irritation at the injection site, potential for more serious reactions.
Best For Everyday relief and people with mild to moderate symptoms. People with severe symptoms or those who don't respond to tablets.

Understanding Hay Fever Treatment Options

Hay Fever Tablets

If you're one of the millions who deal with hay fever, you've probably already tried antihistamine tablets at some point. These convenient little pills are a go-to treatment for a reason - they're easy to find and can start relieving symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes in no time.

Zirtek Allergy Tablets
Zirtek Allergy Tablets
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Most hay fever tablets are available over-the-counter, so you don't need a prescription. Just pick them up during your next trip to the pharmacy or grocery store. Then, you can take them daily right at home to control your allergy symptoms. Pretty simple, right?

There are even different options for hay fever tablets now. Maybe you've seen the non-drowsy antihistamines like loratadine (Clarityn), cetirizine (Zirtek) or fexofenadine (Treathay or Telfast) that allow you to get 24-hour relief without feeling that foggy, tired feeling some antihistamines can cause. Having choices like that is great for finding what works best for you.

Clarityn 10mg Allergy Relief
Clarityn 10mg Allergy Relief
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Hay Fever Injections

Sometimes, hay fever can be really bad, and tablets don't help enough. For those tough cases, doctors might suggest getting injections instead.

These shots have medicine just for treating hay fever symptoms like a stuffy nose, non stop sneezing, and itchy, watery eyes that won't go away. They work differently than tablets that you can buy at the store.

If your hay fever is severe, your doctor may want you to get these injections regularly when symptoms flare up.

The main difference is that while tablets work by blocking the allergic reaction, injections like immunotherapy directly target the underlying cause of the allergy, as covered in the 2023 study. But you can't give these shots to yourself - you have to go to the doctor's office or clinic to get them.

Winner: Hayfever Tablets

Tablets are easier to get and offer more choices, making them more convenient for everyday use.

Efficacy of Treatment

Hay Fever Tablets

When it comes to treating hay fever, those little antihistamine tablets really pack a punch! A study from 2018 confirms that for most people, these tablets are very effective in quickly reducing annoying allergy symptoms.

You know that miserable feeling when the pollen counts are high - the endless sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes that make you want to hide inside all day? Antihistamines help stop that frantic allergic response in its tracks by blocking the effects of histamine in your body, which is the chemical that causes allergic reactions in the first place.

And how long do the hay fever tablets take to work? Within an hour or so of taking a tablet, you'll start to feel relief from the sniffling, scratchy throat, and other hay fever woes. For lots of our patients, that daily antihistamine is a total game-changer during allergy season. They can finally enjoy the nice weather without being slowed down.

Hay Fever Injections

On the other hand, those hay fever injections that have to be given by a doctor are often prescribed for people with more severe allergies. While tablets just treat the symptoms, these injections aim to reduce your body's sensitivity to the actual allergen triggers like pollen or dust mites according to the NHS.

If you find yourself overwhelmed by severe hay fever symptoms that tablets can't manage, injections might offer the relief you need to enjoy your daily activities again.

Of course, the flip side is that injections require a bigger commitment. You have to go to the doctor's office repeatedly on whatever schedule is prescribed for you - weekly, monthly, etc.

Winner: It's a tie

Tablets work quickly to stop common symptoms, while injections last longer and are good for really bad allergies.

Ease of Use

Hay Fever Tablets

When it comes to convenience, it's hard to beat hay fever tablets. They're incredibly simple to use - just pop one in your mouth with a glass of water once a day, and you're done! No fuss, no hassle.

Really, the hardest part is remembering to take it at the same time each day. Maybe you can make it part of your morning routine before heading out the door. Or keep them stocked by your bedside for the night if that works better. The flexibility to take them whenever and wherever is a huge advantage.

Plus, there's no special preparation needed, like fasting beforehand or anything like that. Hay fever tablets are honestly one of the easiest, most user-friendly treatments out there.

Hay Fever Injections

Injections for hay fever are a bit more involved, as you'd expect. First, you have to go to the allergist's office or clinic to get each shot, which requires making an appointment and travelling there. Not quite as convenient as taking a pill at home!

After getting the actual injection, most people just have to hang out for 15-30 minutes to make sure they don't have any immediate adverse reactions. But then you're free to go! Overall, injections require more commitment and planning compared to tablets.

Winner: Hayfever Tablets

Tablets are just a simple pill each day. Injections need more preparation and a trip to the clinic.

Side Effects

Hay Fever Tablets

For the most part, antihistamine tablets are really well-tolerated. But like any medication, they can potentially cause some side effects. The NHS says to watch out for side effects like:

  • Feeling drowsy or tired (this can happen with tablets like chlorphenamine, which is a generic version of Piriton)
  • Dry mouth
  • Headaches

These typically aren't too concerning for most people. If drowsiness is an issue, try taking your tablet before bed instead of in the morning. And drink plenty of water or keep hard candies handy if your mouth feels parched - easy tricks to help manage any side effects!

Hay Fever Injections

Hay fever injections can sometimes cause more significant side effects since they're going directly into your body. That's why it's crucial to only get these under your doctor's watchful eye. Potential side effects the NHS warns about include:

  • Redness, swelling, and irritation at the injection site
  • Rare but severe reactions like difficulty breathing
  • Headaches, fatigue, muscle aches or pain over time

Your health care provider will go over all the risks and monitor you closely after each injection and throughout the full treatment period.

Winner: Hayfever Tablets

Tablets usually have milder side effects compared to injections, which might need a doctor's watch.

Convenience and Accessibility

Hay Fever Tablets

When it comes to sheer convenience, antihistamine tablets really can't be beaten for treating hay fever. These little pills give you the freedom to manage your allergic symptoms from the comfort of your own home - no appointments or travels required!

Just keep a supply at your bedside, in your bag, at your desk - wherever works best for your lifestyle. Then, whenever those sniffles, sneezes, or itchy eyes start acting up, you can quickly pop a tablet for almost instant relief. So easy!

Tablets are perfect for busy people, always on the go. No more having to plan your entire day around a visit to the doctor's office. Having tablets on hand means you’re prepared to manage your hay fever symptoms wherever you are, helping you to keep up with your daily life without too much disruption.

Hay Fever Injections

Injections for seasonal allergies like hay fever, on the other hand, definitely require a bit more planning and coordination. These prescription medical treatments have to be given by your allergist or other medical professional in their office setting.

First, you'll need to schedule an appointment well in advance. Offices can book up quickly, especially during peak allergy seasons when everyone is looking for treatment. Then, you have to make sure you have transportation to and from the clinic or medical centre where you'll receive the injection.

We recognise how challenging it can be to juggle busy work schedules or family care with the need to attend regular appointments, and we're here to support you in finding manageable solutions. Not everyone can easily find time to leave work or home responsibilities for a doctor's visit.

Winner: Hayfever Tablets

You can take tablets at home and fit them into your daily life easily, but you have to go to a doctor for injections.

Choosing the Best Hay Fever Tablets

When it comes to picking the right antihistamine tablet for your hay fever, you've got plenty of options nowadays. A quick stroll through any pharmacy or supermarket will show you just how many varieties line the shelves!

Our advice? First, consider which specific hay fever symptoms bother you the most. If you're constantly dealing with a runny, drippy nose, look for tablets specially formulated to provide relief for that. Or if itchy, watery eyes have you feeling miserable, there are some tailored to target eye irritation.

Next, think about what best fits your daily routine. Need an option that:

  • Is best to take in the morning and requires only a single dose?
  • Won't cause any drowsiness throughout the day?
  • Provides long-lasting 24-hour relief?

Don't be afraid to try out different ones until you find your perfect match. And if you're ever unsure, just ask your pharmacist! They'll be happy to make a personalised recommendation.

The key thing is using tablets clearly approved and licensed for use in the UK. That ensures you're only taking hay fever meds rigorously tested to be safe, high-quality and effective.

Take the Next Step With The Independent Pharmacy

Dealing with hay fever on your own can be a real challenge - whether you need to hold back your hay fever symptoms while travelling or to enjoy everyday activities. With so many medication options out there, how do you know which one is right for you? That's where the experts at The Independent Pharmacy can help!

Instead of spending hours researching treatments alone, they make it easy to get personalised advice. Just fill out a quick online self-assessment, answering a few simple questions about your hay fever symptoms and severity.

From there, one of our trained professionals will review your case and recommend the ideal solution tailored just for you - whether that's a specific antihistamine tablet or something more comprehensive. You get guidance without ever leaving home!

The Independent Pharmacy combines online convenience with true healthcare expertise. No more running around town to different pharmacies - our team guides the full process virtually.

Ready to finally get long-lasting hay fever relief? Take the first step by getting in touch with our team and completing that self-assessment today. With The Independent Pharmacy's support, you'll be breathing easier before you know it.


Are antihistamine shots better than pills?

For rapidly relieving severe allergy symptoms or an acute attack, shots containing adrenaline or steroids can be more effective than antihistamine pills since they work faster. However, for most people, daily antihistamine tablets are the better option for long-term hay fever prevention and management.

What is the strongest treatment for hay fever?

If over-the-counter antihistamine pills aren't providing enough relief from your hay fever symptoms, your health care provider may recommend trying a stronger prescription medication. Some of the most potent options include nasal sprays with corticosteroids (allergy relief products like Avamys or Flixonase) to reduce inflammation.

Is there a downside to taking antihistamines every day?

While generally very safe, some of the potential side effects of taking daily antihistamines include dry mouth, drowsiness or sedation, headaches, and for a smaller number of people, the medications can lose effectiveness over an extended period. But these are typically mild issues that can often be managed.

Is there a way to permanently stop hay fever?

Unfortunately, there is no permanent cure that can completely eliminate hay fever for most people. However, allergy immunotherapy aims to retrain your immune system to be less sensitive to triggers like pollen or dust mites over time. By sticking to a consistent regimen of allergy shots or sublingual drops (under your tongue), many patients experience significant long-lasting relief, although it doesn't work for everyone.


NHS (2022). Allergies -

NHS (2023). Antihistamines -

Katrina L Randall and Carolyn A Hawkins (2018). Antihistamines and allergy -

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