Hay fever season usually starts in March and finishes in September.
It affects one in four people in the UK.
The symptoms can vary, but they include: runny nose, itchy nose and throat, itchy and watery eyes, asthma exacerbations with difficulties breathing, dry cough or wheezing.
Hay fever is related to pollen allergy.
Different types of pollen are involved throughout the hay fever season:
Late-March to Mid-May: Tree pollen
Mid-May to July: Grass pollen
End of June to September: Weed pollen
There is a very useful pollen forecast on the Met Office website
To prevent hay fever, ideally, you should avoid pollen, which is not easily done in real life.
Here are a few tips to help you out:
Cleaning your eyes and nose with saline solution when you come back home.
Taking a shower in the evening and washing your hair as it can carry pollen.
Changing your pillow case regularly as your hair can spread pollen on it.
Leaving clothes worn the same day outside your bedroom.
Drying clothes inside or shaking them before wearing them if they dried outside.
Keeping windows closed when at home and overnight.
Keeping the car windows closed when driving.
Wearing a mask for gardening.
Wearing wide sunglasses as a mechanical protection.
Applying vaseline inside nostrils to limit the contact of your mucosa with pollen.
If the measures above are not good enough, most of the medication recommended for hay fever is available over the counter.
Depending on your symptoms, you can use a corticosteroid nasal spray, anti-inflammatory eye drops like sodium cromoglicate and any type of symptoms antihistamin tablets.
You need to seek the advice of your GP if you cannot control your symptoms with over the counter remedies, if you experience complication of hay fever like asthma exacerbations or chronic sinusitis, or if you develop atypical symptoms which might be something else other than hay fever.