What is hayfever?

The medical term for hay fever is seasonal allergic rhinitis. Rhinitis means inflammation of the inside of the nose. Hay fever affects up to one in five people at some point in their life.

Symptoms include:
- a runny nose
- itchy eyes
- sneezing

These symptoms are caused by a persons allergic reaction to pollen. Pollen is produced from plants as part of their reproductive cycle. The fine powder produced contains proteins that can cause irritation, inflammation and swelling in the nose, eyes, throat and sinuses.

There are three different types of pollen that are released throughout the year which are:

- tree pollen, during the spring
- grass pollen, during the end of spring and beginning of the summer
- weed pollen, from any time early spring to late autumn

Symptoms of hayfever tend to improve as a person gets older, in around 10-20% of people their symptoms have stopped completely.

There is currently no cure for hay fever but there are treatments available to relieve these symptoms including:
- antihistamines: helping to prevent the allergic reaction from happening
- corticosteriods: helping to reduce the levels of information and swelling

Hay fever cases can more often than not be controlled using over the counter (OTC) medicines available from you local Wilsons pharmacy and our healthcare teams and pharmacists are trained and able to provide you with advice and help with the most appropriate product to treat your symptoms.

Who is affected?
Hay fever is one of the most common allergic condition - it is estimated that more than 10 million people in England suffer from it. Usually beginning in the childhood and teenage years but you can develop it at any stage. It is more common in boys than girls, however when in adults both men and women are equally affected. You are more likely to have hay fever if you have a family history of allergies, commonly asthma and eczema.

Facts and figures

Hay fever affects up to 1/5 people at some point in their life.
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