Hay fever treatments

Find out how to treat your hay fever so that it’s less likely to trigger an asthma attack or cause a flare-up of your lung condition.

When to see your GP

Pharmacists can give you advice and help you find a hay fever treatment that works for you.

See your GP if: 

  • your hay fever, asthma, or lung condition symptoms are getting worse
  • your symptoms do not improve after using hay fever treatments.

We know from calls to our helpline that it can be hard to get a GP appointment. If you need help, read our advice about getting in touch with your GP.

Treating hay fever yourself

It’s impossible to avoid pollen altogether, but there are things you can do to lower your risk. 

You might find a self-management plan useful during the pollen season. It includes advice about managing your lung condition well and information about what to do if your symptoms get worse. We have an asthma action plan, a COPD self-management plan and a pulmonary fibrosis self-management plan

It’s also good idea to check the pollen forecast on the Met Office website every day. Below are some things you can do if the pollen count is high:

Try to

  • Take antihistamines  to help with your hay fever symptoms.
  • If you use a reliever inhaler (usually blue), always keep it with you and use it straight away if your symptoms get worse. 
  • Keep windows and doors shut as much as possible. 
  • Wear a mask, wraparound sunglasses or a hat with a large brim. This will help to stop pollen getting into your eyes. 
  • Use a saltwater nasal spray or solution to rinse the inside of your nose. 
  • Put Vaseline (petroleum jelly) around your nostrils to trap pollen when you’re outside.  You should not do this if you are using home oxygen therapy.  
  • Shower and change your clothes when you come home to wash off any pollen. 
  • Vacuum and dust with a damp cloth regularly. 

Try to avoid

  • Drying your clothes outside as they could get pollen on them.  
  • Cutting grass or walking on grass if the pollen count is high.  
  • Spending too much time outside on very high pollen count days.  
  • Tobacco smoke as it can make your symptoms worse. If you smoke, get help to stop smoking
  • Keeping fresh flowers where you live.  


Antihistamines are medicines that can help relieve hay fever symptoms and allergies. Most people with hay fever will be able to manage their symptoms themselves by taking antihistamines.

Antihistamines come in a lot of different forms, like tablets, nasal sprays, liquids, and eye drops. You may need to try different types to find one that works well for you. Your pharmacist can help you with this.

You may get drowsy (sleepy) on some antihistamines. Your pharmacist can tell you more about drowsy and non-drowsy antihistamines.

If you know when your hay fever symptoms usually start, it’s a good idea to begin taking antihistamines two to four weeks before this time. This will give you the best protection. You can take antihistamines throughout the pollen season. 

The NHS has more information about antihistamines.

Save money on your medicines

You might be able to save money on antihistamines by buying non-branded medicines. Money saving expert has more information about cheaper hay fever tablets. We have more financial support, including advice about how to save money on prescription costs.

Steroid nasal sprays

Steroid nasal sprays use small amounts of steroids to reduce the swelling in your nose so you can breathe more easily. They can help to relieve symptoms like sneezing and a runny or blocked nose.

You can buy some types of steroid nasal sprays from shops like pharmacies and supermarkets, but others are only available through prescription. Your GP or pharmacist can tell you about the different types of nasal sprays. 

If you know when your hay fever symptoms usually start, try to start using a steroid nasal spray one to two weeks before. This will give you the best protection.

Am I taking my nasal spray properly?

If your nasal spray technique is right, it should not drip from your nose or down the back of your throat. Check your nasal spray technique with our short video


If other hay fever treatments do not work for you, your GP may refer you for immunotherapy. Immunotherapy is a specialist service, so it is not available everywhere.

Allergy UK has more information about immunotherapy

After reading this information, do you have a better understanding of how to manage and treat your hay fever and lung condition symptoms?

Get support

Call or WhatsApp our Helpline for support with your condition. Get advice on your medicines, symptoms or travelling with a lung condition, or just call us to say hello.

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