Posted by John Duffy MPSI, Claregalway Pharmacy in Features.

Hay fever, known medically as Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis, involves an allergic reaction to pollen from trees, grass and flowers. Normally your immune system fights off only those things that threaten your health, such as cold viruses, but an allergic person’s immune system releases the chemical histamine to fend off the presumed offender. Unfortunately, the side effects of histamine are the symptoms associated with allergies: a runny nose and sneezing, itchy nose and throat, watery red eyes, and congestion.

What can you do?—Top 10 Tips

Here are a few simple steps you can take to reduce your symptoms flaring up:

  • Keep doors and windows closed in mid-morning and early evening when pollen levels peak
  • Avoid lying on the grass
  • Apply a little Vaseline inside the nose to trap pollen and stop it being inhaled
  • Take necessary medication
  • Use eye drops to soothe irritated eyes
  • Keep car windows shut when driving
  • Wear sunglasses, preferably wraparound sunglasses which prevent pollen entering the eyes
  • Don’t mow the grass and avoid working in the garden
  • Don’t dry clothes outside if possible
  • Wash your hair, hands and face when you come back indoors and change your clothes to get rid of any pollen


If you are suffering from hay fever, discuss your treatment options with your pharmacist.


Many antihistamines are available over-the-counter in tablet and liquid forms. Antihistamines are also available on prescription.

  • Mild Symptoms: An over-the-counter medicine will probably suffice. Ask your pharmacist about the most appropriate medicine for your symptoms.
  • Severe Symptoms: Check into desensitizing allergy shots. This treatment, which involves injecting increasing amounts of the allergen into your skin, can help your immune system gradually adjust to irritants in the air.

For further advice, Ask Your Pharmacist First.

This information was shared by John Duffy MPSI of Claregalway Pharmacy (open Monday–Friday 9am–8pm and Saturday 9am–7pm. For more, like their page on facebook, phone 091 799 754, or drop in.