The Independent Pharmacy

Hay Fever

Hay fever can impact your day-to-day life. Especially between March and September when the pollen count is at its highest.

Fortunately, we offer a wide range of hay fever tablets and other medications that can help you put stop to symptoms like sneezing, coughing, congestion and watery itchy eyes.

The best hay fever medications include eye drops, nasal sprays and antihistamine tablets that help to ease symptoms and relieve irritation in the eyes, nose, mouth and throat.

Browse through our selection of effective treatments to manage your hay fever symptoms and reclaim your everyday comfort. We can help you treat your allergy.

Start your assessment for Hay Fever

Don't wait any longer to get the medical help you need. Once you complete a short online assessment about your condition, you will be able to select your preferred treatment and quantity from a list of appropriate options for you.

  • Reviewed by our UK-based medical team
  • Takes less than 3 minutes to complete
  • Approved treatments dispatched same day (before 3pm)
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Hay Fever Treatments

  • Chlorphenamine Tablets & Solution

    Chlorphenamine Tablets & Solution

    • 4mg tablets, 2mg/5ml solution
    • 28 tablets, 150ml solution
    • Great for bites, rashes, & allergies
    StarStarStarStarStar
    from
    £3.99
    156 reviews
    save up to £7.80
    Chlorphenamine Tablets & Solution
  • Cetirizine Tablets & Solution

    Cetirizine Tablets & Solution

    • Non-drowsy antihistamine
    • Treat allergies such as hay fever, dust mites and pet allergies
    • Reduces inflammation in your nose and eyes
    StarStarStarStarStar
    from
    £1.99
    80 reviews
    save up to £6.30
    Cetirizine Tablets & Solution
  • Loratadine Tablets

    Loratadine Tablets

    • Provides relief from allergy symptoms
    • Non-drowsy
    • Once daily
    StarStarStarStarStar
    £1.99
    126 reviews
    save £7.20
    Loratadine Tablets
  • Piriton Tablets & Syrup

    Piriton Tablets & Syrup

    • 4mg tablets, 2mg/5ml solution
    • 30 tablets, 150ml solution
    • Trusted allergy relief
    StarStarStarStarStar
    from
    £4.99
    79 reviews
    Piriton Tablets & Syrup
  • Telfast Tablets

    Telfast Tablets

    • 120mg, 180mg
    • 30 tablets
    • Treats itching and allergies
    StarStarStarStarStar
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    £17.99
    38 reviews
    save up to £9.00
    Telfast Tablets
  • Desloratadine 5mg Tablets

    Desloratadine 5mg Tablets

    • 5mg
    • 30 tablets
    • Prescription-strength antihistamine
    StarStarStarStarStar
    £11.99
    54 reviews
    save £12.00
    Desloratadine 5mg Tablets
  • Dymista Nasal Spray

    Dymista Nasal Spray

    • 137mcg/50mcg
    • 120 sprays
    • Dual action allergy relief
    StarStarStarStarStar
    £30.80
    27 reviews
    save £17.40
    Dymista Nasal Spray
  • Xyzal 5mg Tablets

    Xyzal 5mg Tablets

    • 5mg
    • 30 tablets
    • Prescription strength, Contains levocetirizine
    StarStarStarStarStar
    £12.99
    40 reviews
    save £24.00
    Xyzal 5mg Tablets
  • Levocetirizine

    Levocetirizine

    • 5mg
    • 30 Tablets
    • Prescription strength, Scientifically proven, Antihistamine
    StarStarStarStarStar
    £11.99
    21 reviews
    save £24.00
    Levocetirizine
  • Rhinolast

    Rhinolast

    • 0.1% w/v
    • 22ml bottle
    • Antihistamine, Prescription strength, Non-steroid nasal spray
    StarStarStarStarStar
    £17.50
    36 reviews
    save £7.50
    Rhinolast
  • Opticrom Eye Drops

    Opticrom Eye Drops

    • Provides quick relief from allergy symptoms that affect the eyes
    • Works against puffy, itchy and watery eyes
    • Suitable for use by adults and children over the age of 6 years
    StarStarStarStarStar
    £4.99
    6 reviews
    Opticrom Eye Drops
  • Pirinase Nasal Spray

    Pirinase Nasal Spray

    • 0.05%
    • 60 Sprays
    • Steroid nasal spray, Branded treatment
    StarStarStarStarStar
    £7.49
    3 reviews
    Pirinase Nasal Spray
  • Benacort Nasal Spray

    Benacort Nasal Spray

    • 64 micrograms
    • 120 sprays
    • Highly effective, Steroid
    StarStarStarStarStar
    £8.99
    9 reviews
    Benacort Nasal Spray
  • Beconase Nasal Spray

    Beconase Nasal Spray

    • 50 micrograms
    • 180 dose bottle
    • Branded version, Steroid
    StarStarStarStarStar
    £8.99
    1 review
    save £1.50
    Beconase Nasal Spray
  • Allevia Tablets

    Allevia Tablets

    • 120mg
    • 30 tablets
    • Antihistamine, One-a-day
    StarStarStarStarStar
    £9.99
    2 reviews
    Allevia Tablets
  • Optrex Hay Fever Eye Drops

    Optrex Hay Fever Eye Drops

    • Relieves symptoms of hay fever
    • Soothes itching, redness, soreness and watering
    • Active ingredient Sodium Cromoglicate
    £5.39
    Optrex Hay Fever Eye Drops
  • Piriteze

    Piriteze

    • 10mg
    • 30 tablets
    • Cetirizine, Once daily
    StarStarStarStarStar
    £9.99
    1 review
    save £12.00
    Piriteze
  • Clarityn Allergy Syrup

    Clarityn Allergy Syrup

    • 1mg/ml
    • 60ml bottle
    • Mixed berries flavour, Effective treatment
    StarStarStarStarStar
    £4.39
    1 review
    Clarityn Allergy Syrup
  • Zirtek Tablets

    Zirtek Tablets

    • 10 mg
    • 30 tablets
    • One a day, Effective relief
    £11.99
    Zirtek Tablets
  • Sudafed Nose Spray

    Sudafed Nose Spray

    • Preservative-free spray isotonic saline solution
    • Natural congestion relief
    • Treats symptoms of cold and flu, sinusitis, allergies.
    StarStarStarStarStar
    £5.49
    1 review
    Sudafed Nose Spray
  • Azelair Nasal Spray

    Azelair Nasal Spray

    • 0.15% w/v
    • 20ml bottle
    • Antihistamine, Prescription strength, Non-steroid nasal spray
    £17.99
    save £4.00
    Azelair Nasal Spray
  • Fexofenadine Tablets

    Fexofenadine Tablets

    • 120mg, 180mg
    • 30 tablets
    • Treats itching and allergies
    from
    £15.99
    save up to £12.00
    Fexofenadine Tablets
  • Anthisan Cream

    Anthisan Cream

    • 2% w/w
    • 20g
    • Antihistamine cream, Relief from insect bites
    StarStarStarStarStar
    £4.99
    4 reviews
    save £0.60
    Anthisan Cream
  • Flixonase Nasal Spray

    Flixonase Nasal Spray

    • 0.05%
    • 150 sprays
    • Relieves nasal inflammation & congestion
    StarStarStarStarStar
    £20.00
    66 reviews
    save £6.00
    Flixonase Nasal Spray
  • Fusion Allergy Eye Spray

    Fusion Allergy Eye Spray

    • Treats allergic conjunctivitis and dry eye
    • Contains a natural molecule called Etcoin
    • Isotonic solution
    £10.49
    save £3.00
    Fusion Allergy Eye Spray
  • Nasonex Nasal Spray

    Nasonex Nasal Spray

    • 50 micrograms
    • 140 metered actuations
    • Branded, Prescription strength treatment, Corticosteroid
    StarStarStarStarStar
    £20.00
    23 reviews
    save £15.00
    Nasonex Nasal Spray
  • Opatanol Eye Drops

    Opatanol Eye Drops

    • 1mg/ml
    • 5ml bottle
    • Prescription strength
    StarStarStarStarStar
    £16.99
    1 review
    save £4.00
    Opatanol Eye Drops
  • Optilast Eye Drops

    Optilast Eye Drops

    • 0.5mg/ml
    • 8ml bottle
    • Prescription strength, Antihistamine
    StarStarStarStarStar
    £15.80
    1 review
    save £12.90
    Optilast Eye Drops
  • Treathay

    Treathay

    • 120mg
    • 30 tablets
    • Fexofenadine, Brand-new treatment
    StarStarStarStarStar
    £5.99
    1 review
    save £6.00
    Treathay

Are you experiencing Hay Fever?

Take a quick 1-3 minute assessment

Advice for Hay Fever

What is Hay Fever?

Hay fever is an allergic reaction that causes sneezing, itchy/watery eyes, and a runny or stuffy nose. It's triggered by pollen and fungal spores in the air.

The NHS says that up to 1 in 5 people get hay fever symptoms when pollen counts are high. Sunny, dry days make pollen worse while rain helps clear the air.

Your body mistakes pollen for a danger and mounts an allergic response to try to flush it out - hence the sneezing, itching, and drippy nose. Though just an overreaction, hay fever can make summers miserable without the right medication.

What are the symptoms of Hay Fever?

For many, the symptoms of hay fever are irritating in every sense. Different people react in different ways, but the most common symptoms are:

  • Watery or itchy eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Runny or blocked nose
  • Coughing
  • Itchy feeling in the throat
  • Wheezing

As hay fever is a chronic condition, there is no ‘cure’. In most people the symptoms of hay fever will ease, to some extent, as they get older. In up to 20% of people they can disappear completely.

How is Hay Fever diagnosed?

For mild/moderate cases, no official diagnosis is needed. Over-the-counter medication from your pharmacy is usually enough.

But see a doctor if symptoms are severe or happen year-round. They can do allergy tests to identify the trigger.

Those with eczema, asthma, family history of hay fever, or early smoke exposure are more prone to it.

The right hay fever medication provides relief, so don't hesitate to speak to one of our pharmacists and start your hay fever consultation today.

What are the treatments for Hay Fever?

Hay fever treatment can be very individual and depends very much on the type and severity of symptoms you experience. For mild to moderate hay fever symptoms, over-the-counter hay fever tablets, eye drops and nasal sprays may be enough to keep symptoms controlled. Patients who experience more severe hay fever symptoms that have a significant impact on their daily life may wish to seek prescription hay fever treatment.

Hay Fever Tablets (antihistamines)

Hay fever tablets work by blocking histamine - the chemical that causes all the sneezing, itching, and stuffy nose. Just one a day can provide long-lasting relief from multiple hay fever symptoms with few side effects.

The prescription hay fever tablets that are available from The Independent Pharmacy are:

  • Telfast, containing fexofenadine
  • Xyzal, with the active ingredient levocetirizine

We are also able to offer over-the-counter hay fever tablets containing well-known antihistamines including:

Common over-the-counter brands of hay fever tablets include:

Hay Fever Nasal Sprays (corticosteroids & antihistamines)

Hay fever nasal sprays usually contain a corticosteroid (steroid), which helps to reduce inflammation and calm the irritation in your nose. You apply steroid nasal sprays to the area of action. You can take them in very low doses and they can still be extremely effective. So, it's unlikely that you'd experience any side effects and still get relief from the nasal symptoms of hay fever.

Prescription steroid hayfever nasal sprays available from The Independent Pharmacy include:

Common over-the-counter brands of hay fever nasal sprays include Beconase and Pirinase as well as generic treatments like beclometasone or fluticasone.

Antihistamine hay fever nasal spray Rhinolast works in a similar way to antihistamine tablets to block hay fever symptoms.

Hay Fever Eye Drops (antihistamines)

Anti-allergy eye drops work by stopping the release of histamine - the chemical that makes your eyes go crazy during allergy season.

Some effective eye drop options are:

  • Opticrom - Contains sodium cromoglicate as active ingredient
  • Optilast - Contains azelastine or nedocromil as the main ingredient

You can safely use them along with hay fever tablets and nasal sprays for full relief from every annoying symptom.

Ask your pharmacist if anti-allergy eye drops could help get your itchy, watery eyes under control this season.

How to take Hay Fever tablets for best relief

Antihistamine tablets are most effective when taken before hay fever symptoms start. For seasonal allergies, the best time to take your hay fever tablets is a couple of weeks before pollen levels typically rise in your area.

And how long do antihistamines take to work? Once the sneezing and stuffiness kick in, the tablets work quickly - you'll likely notice relief within an hour or two. However, their effects build up over several days of consistent use.

For long-lasting protection, take your hay fever tablet at the same time each day as directed. Many antihistamines provide 24-hour relief with just one dose.

If symptoms persist, you can safely combine tablets with nasal sprays or eye drops. But check with your pharmacist first, especially if using multiple products or taking other medications.

The key is staying ahead of hay fever by taking antihistamines regularly throughout allergy season. With proper timing and use, tablets can help keep you symptom-free all spring and summer!

How can I prevent Hay Fever?

While medication provides relief, there are steps you can take to minimise exposure to pollen and other allergens that trigger hay fever:

  • Identify the allergen - Pollen from trees, grasses, and weeds are common culprits. Notice if symptoms flare up around certain plants/seasons.
  • Limit exposure - Avoid going outside when pollen counts are high, especially mornings when levels peak. Check the pollen forecast from the Met Office.
  • Clean up - Rinse off pollen sticking to your body/clothes after being outside. Wash bedding frequently to remove allergens.
  • Ditch irritants - Steer clear of dust, smoke, and other airway irritants that can worsen hay fever.
  • Air it out - Use high-efficiency air purifiers to filter allergens indoors. Avoid outdoor chores that stir up pollen.
  • Be prepared - Take once-a-day antihistamine medication consistently throughout allergy season for best prevention.
  • Cover up - Wear sunglasses to prevent pollen entering your eyes when outside.
  • Give a go to non-medicinal products - You can buy over the counter such as Prevalin Nasal Spray which can be used on its own or with other medicinal hay fever treatments.

Reducing exposure combined with the right medication can help you breathe easier all season long!

Alternatives

Alternative Treatments for Hay Fever

Simple yet effective measures can include things such as wearing wrap-around sunglasses, keeping windows closed when its a high pollen count and washing your hair after a day out to remove any trapped pollen grains from your hair and skin.
There are some non-medicinal products you can buy over the counter such as Prevalin Nasal Spray which can be used on its own or with other medicinal hay fever treatments.

Hay Fever FAQs

  • Pollen season can last for months, as different plants release their pollen at different times:

    • Late March to Mid-May: Tree pollen fills the air first.
    • Mid-May through July: This is peak grass pollen season when many people's hay fever is the worst.
    • Late June through September: Weed pollen lingers through the end of summer and fall.

    The exact pollen season timing can shift a bit each year based on the weather. But you can count on lots of pollen making the rounds from early spring through late summer/early fall.

    If you know which type of pollen impacts you most (grass, trees or weeds), that can help predict when your hay fever will flare up.

  • For most people it is sensible to start with a once daily antihistamine such as cetirizine or loratadine, taken each morning during pollen season, even if pollen counts are low. You can then adapt your treatment depending on your response, if a once-daily antihistamine is not enough to keep symptoms under control then a different antihistamine can be tried or a nasal spray or eye drops can be added.

  • You can still experience hay fever on holiday and hay fever sufferers should take preventative medication with them to ensure they can keep their symptoms at bay abroad. It is worth noting that as the trees, plants and grasses can vary abroad, depending on how far you have travelled, the symptoms you experience can be different (more or less severe) to those at home. It is worth taking treatment with you so you are prepared.

  • Yes, the daily pollen count can fluctuate greatly depending on the weather. In general, rainy days will clear pollen from the air and mean symptoms will be decreased. Both wind and humidity can cause pollen to spread more easily meaning that symptoms will be worse, as they will be on sunny days where more flowers open. Pollen counts tend to be lowest in the early morning and rise throughout the day to a peak at early evening.

  • Yes, as long as each item is individually appropriate for you to take, there is no problem combining an antihistamine tablet, steroid nasal spray and allergy eye drops to keep hay fever symptoms under control.

  • Antihistamine tablets start to work within 30 minutes and are normally taken once daily in the morning, swallowed whole with a glass of water. You can take them with or without food.

  • Unlike steroid nasal sprays, which are best started days before exposure to pollen, antihistamine tablets work quickly and can be taken when you need them. For best protection against pollen, you should take them throughout pollen season to prevent hay fever from occurring.

  • Antihistamine tablets can be taken at anytime of the day, although they are generally best taken first thing in the morning to help prevent symptoms throughout the day.

  • All antihistamines have a chance of producing drowsiness, though this can vary from person to person. All of the once-daily antihistamines, frequently called non-sedative antihistamines, and have a lot lower incidence of drowsiness compared to the older types of antihistamine (such as chlorphenamine).

  • Although most once daily antihistamines work in a similar way, individual responses to them can vary greatly. One antihistamine may work better for you than another. For this reason it may be beneficial to try a new antihistamine if you find one ineffective.

  • Newer once-daily antihistamine tablets are not addictive and they are safe to use for long periods of time. Older antihistamines that are used for nausea and insomnia can produce some dependency (this is not the same as addiction) when used for long periods. If you are concerned, please contact one of our healthcare professionals for advice.

  • As long as all of the hay fever treatments are used as advised, and they are only used during hay fever season, their effects will not diminish over time with continued use.

  • Take the forgotten dose as soon as you remember. If that is not until the next dose is due, do not take a double dose.

  • Most hay fever treatment starts with a once-daily antihistamine tablet unless symptoms are confined to either just the nose (nasal spray) or the eyes (eye drops).

    If an antihistamine tablet is not enough to control your symptoms, you should next add a nasal spray to your treatment regime (unless your eyes are particularly badly affected). A combination of a nasal spray and antihistamine tablet is normally very effective in controlling hay fever.

    If further treatment is required, eye drops can also be added to this regime.

    In the event that using an antihistamine tablet, nasal spray and eye drops do not control your hay fever, you may wish to switch treatments to test for more effective alternatives.

    Always remember that you should use the preventative techniques to reduce the severity of symptoms alongside medicinal treatments.

    • Blow your nose to ensure your nostrils are clear of mucus.
    • Remove the cap. Shake the bottle. The first time you use it, pump the spray to ensure it is working and a fine mist of medication comes out of the end. This is also sometimes referred as "priming" and needs to be done when you use for the first time and after long periods when it has not be used.
    • Breathe out and tilt your head forward.
    • Place your thumb on the bottom of the bottle and 2 fingers on the top. Use the fingers from your other hand to close your other nostril.
    • Breathe in slowly and administer a dose of the nasal spray. Avoid breathing in too quickly as this may cause the spray to pass through the nasal cavity and be swallowed.
    • Repeat steps 2-4 above for the other nostril.

    Avoid blowing your nose or breathing in deeply for a short period of time after administration. This will ensure the medicine is absorbed correctly and has time to work properly.

  • Steroid nasal sprays need to be started a few days before they are needed to allow them to build up to their full effect. They need to be used continuously throughout the hay fever season for maximum effect. Examples of steroid nasal sprays are Avamys, Beconase, Nasonex, and Flixonase. Read through our hay fever guides to understand Avamys side effects and how to use the spray correctly.

    Dymista is a combination hay fever treatment containing a steroid and an antihistamine. The steroid effect may take a few days to build up, however the antihistamine should take effect quickly allowing it to be started when symptoms occur. It should still be taken regularly throughout hay fever season, not just when required.

  • Unlike steroid tablets, the nasal sprays used for hay fever deliver the drug to exactly where it is needed. This means that smaller amounts are used and only a tiny amount is absorbed in to the body.

    The side effects of steroid nasal sprays are minimal in comparison and are usually limited to dry skin inside the nostril(s), redness at site of application and in some patients, taste disturbances.

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