What are the best ways to treat hay fever?

It’s hay fever season, and GP’s get asked every year, “what is the best way to treat hay fever”, for both adults and children. This is a great question because the symptoms of hay fever can really disrupt daily activities outside, especially when the weather is good and we all want be to outside, but it also disrupts sleep, which in turn impacts on our overall wellbeing. At Flo Sinus Care, we sell an option that can help with hay fever symptoms, but there are other options to consider along with Flo Sinus Care.  

This article, and others like it in the series will help explain the clinically recommended treatments in an honest and transparent manner. This way, you should be able to identify the treatments that is right for you and your family.

Clinical evidence for treating hay fever

In providing this advice, we have researched guidelines from the British Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, and the Allergic Rhinitis And Its Impact On Asthma Initiative.

So hay fever is defined a seasonal allergic reaction to airborne particles characterized by itchy eyes, runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing, itchy throat and excess mucus. Its name is a misnomer because hay fever is neither caused by hay nor does it produce a fever!  It is also known as allergic rhinitis or pollinosis. 

1st step for treating hay fever is a nasal wash

If you have ever been to your GP regarding hay fever you might have been advised to do nasal douching or a nasal wash with a saline or bicarbonate liquid – using a high-volume and low-pressure delivery device. These guidelines come from the British Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology and also the Allergic Rhinitis And Its Impact On Asthma Initiative who suggest that with any severity level of hay fever, the first thing to try is a nasal wash.

A nasal wash does what it says it does and washes away excess pollen and mucus from all the nasal and sinus passages, the root cause of the sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes and congestion.

You should be aware that a high-volume, low-pressure nasal wash is not the same as Sterimar Nasal Spray, which does not provide the necessary volume to wash out the sinus passages and wash away pollen and mucus.

Nasal wash safe during pregnancy

Nasal wash is a safe option during pregnancy and breast feeding when other prescribing options are limited.

Please see the video link https://flosinuscare.eu/pages/video-guides for how a high-volume, low pressure nasal wash actually works.

Second step for mild hay fever

For mild hay fever, where symptoms usually include sneezing, itchy nose and runny nose, but is not affecting daily activities or sleep, after having used the nasal wash, it is recommended you use an over the counter anti-histamine, once a day. These are widely available in supermarkets or pharmacies. It would be an idea to check with the Pharmacist to ensure you buy a non-drowsy anti-histamine, unless of course you have night time symptoms and you need help with sleep.   

Second step for severe hay fever

If your symptoms persist, get more severe, start affecting daily activities and/or sleep and you have already tried the nasal wash and anti-histamines, then you will probably require a regular intra-nasal steroid spray. These are prescribed by your GP, but it is essential that you are shown how to use the spray correctly. These steroid sprays are most effective if used immediately after a nasal wash. This is because the nasal wash clears the excess mucus away from the nasal lining and allows the steroid to effectively reduce the inflammation, caused by the pollen.

Hay fever treatment for problem eyes

If your main problems are eyes, which can be runny, itchy or sore, then you should ask your local Pharmacist for a topical hay fever eye drop.

Daily Treatment

All these treatments should be used daily. If you suffer from severe hay fever symptoms, you should start to use these treatment two weeks prior to the start of the pollen season.

If symptoms continue, you may not be using the steroid nasal spray correctly and will need to seek advice from a Pharmacist or GP. Occasionally some people may need a short course of oral steroid tablets. It is no longer recommended that people have high dose steroid injection therapy for hay fever due to its impact on suppressing immunity and also local muscle damage. 

Hay fever treatment for children

A similar approach is used for children, although use of the nasal wash will depend on the age of the child (seek guidance from a Pharmacist or GP) and the type of intra-nasal steroid spray will differ from that used in adults.  

Any other questions?

If you still have any questions about nasal washes, please contact us directly or comments with your thoughts below.