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Hay Fever and Allergy Relief

Why Do Some Adults Randomly Develop Hay Fever?

Posted Tuesday 20 April 2021 06:00 by Harman Bhamra in Hay Fever and Allergy Relief

Many people believe that if they didn’t experience hay fever as a child, they won’t have to worry about it later in life. Unfortunately, this isn’t necessarily true.

While it is most common to develop hay fever during childhood, many adults develop it much later in life, even when they’ve never experienced it before. But, why is this the case? Why do some adults randomly develop hay fever? We’re here to reveal all.

What are the symptoms of hay fever?

The symptoms of hay fever include:

  • Runny or blocked nose
  • Itchy or watery eyes
  • Scratchy throat
  • Sneezing or coughing

It can be difficult to differentiate between a cold and hay fever, but there are certain triggers that can lead to these symptoms coming on more strongly, such as being around pollen, grass, pollution or pet dander.

Sometimes, people who have hay fever can also experience secondary symptoms such as:

  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Low mood
  • Irritability

This is because the condition can make you feel under the weather for such a long period of time, especially if the pollen count is high.

What causes hay fever in adults?

Hay fever is your immune system’s way of protecting itself when it identifies a harmless airborne substance as a potential threat. The immune system produces antibodies to protect itself against the substance. When you next come into contact with it, the antibodies signal to the body to release histamines, leading to the symptoms of hay fever.

The likelihood of developing allergies is written in our genetic makeup and around a third of adults are susceptible to developing allergies. Many of these people never go on to experience any symptoms, but for a number of adults, hay fever can develop later in life as a result. The reason is that most people only carry antibodies to bacteria and viruses, but some also carry antibodies to triggers like pollen.

How will I know if I’m going to develop hay fever?

As the years go by, hay fever is actually becoming more common. This is linked with the rise in pollution, pollen and climate change, and our worsening diets. Unfortunately, there’s no way of knowing if you’re predisposed to develop hay fever.

How to prevent hay fever

While hay fever isn’t always preventable, there are many things that you can do to alleviate symptoms.

Stay Inside: If you know what triggers your hay fever, it’s a good idea to try to minimise your contact with the allergen. For example, if pollen is a trigger for your symptoms, you should check pollen counts before you go outside during the spring and summer and try to stay indoors where possible on high pollen count days.

Close Windows: It’s also a good idea to keep windows closed. This will prevent pollen and allergens coming into your home.

Sunglasses: Wearing sunglasses can also help to prevent pollen and dust from getting into your eyes and irritating them.

Vacuum Often: If you have pets, try to vacuum regularly to pick up hair and pet dander from the floors and furniture. You could also invest in an air purifier for your home to clean the air further.

Medication: You can also treat hay fever with over the counter tablets or sprays. Hay fever tablets can help to suppress your symptoms, allowing you to enjoy the outdoors without any obstacles.

When to speak to your doctor

Hay fever symptoms are usually mild. If you follow the right precautions and remember to take hay fever relief, a trip to the doctor shouldn’t be needed. However, if symptoms become unbearable or show signs of a more serious problem, it’s wise to seek medical assistance.

Save 20% on Hay Fever Relief!

Posted Monday 15 March 2021 06:00 by Harman Bhamra in Hay Fever and Allergy Relief

Hay fever season is coming and that can only mean one thing. Months spent sniffling, itching and unintentionally crying! But, what if we told you it doesn’t have to be like that? With help from our hay fever relief products, you can fight pollen for good.

Get 20% off all hay fever relief with code HAY20 at checkout

Code valid from Monday 15th March till Friday 19th March

What’s Included In This Offer?

Will Nasonex Prevent My Hay Fever From Coming Back?

Posted Thursday 13 August 2020 11:00 by Harman Bhamra in Hay Fever and Allergy Relief

Commonly known as allergic rhinitis, hay fever is usually characterized by its cold-like symptoms like congestion, sneezing, itchy eyes, sinus pressure, and runny nose. However, unlike the cold, hay fever is caused by allergens (e.g. dust mites, pollen, and animal dander) - not a virus.

Nasonex is a commonly used nasal spray against hay fever. But will Nasonex prevent your hay fever from coming back? Let’s find out.

What does Nasonex actually do?

Nasonex is a popular branded equivalent of Mometasone Furoate Monohydrate. This type of drug is used to help relieve the symptoms of both year-round allergic rhinitis and hay fever.

Mometasone, the active ingredient in Nasonex, is a corticosteroid. This group of medicines work by reducing the inflammation and swelling in your sinuses to relieve hay fever symptoms like sneezing, congestion, and runny nose.

Unlike other allergy medications, Nasonex does not make you feel drowsy. This means that you can still keep doing your day to day activities without any problems while under medication.

Will Nasonex prevent my hay fever from coming back?

Nasonex is designed to relieve the symptoms of hay fever but it doesn’t resolve the root cause of the issue. Remember that hay fever can be seasonal or year-round and it’s usually caused by allergens like pollen, fur, dust, and pet dander which are suspended in the air. Nasonex will help alleviate your symptoms but if you don’t remove these allergens from your home or take necessary precautions to limit your exposure, your hay fever will be back as soon as you stop taking the medication.

How long can you use Nasonex?

It is safe to use Nasonex daily. Usually, the prescribed dose of this medication is one or two squirts in each nostril every day. You can reduce your dosage to one squirt per day once your hay fever symptoms are under control. Take note that this medication may not work right away. Some people report that they started feeling its effects within two days. Studies suggest that it may take up to two weeks before you feel the full effect of the drug.

If you are using Nasonex to prevent seasonal hay fever, start taking the medication 2-4 weeks before the pollen season begins. You might need to ask your doctor for advice if you are planning to take Nasonex for more than six months or if you are taking other medications which may interact with the treatment.

Nasonex must only be taken by ages 12 and up. If your symptoms don’t improve after two weeks, consult your GP.

What time of the day should I take Nasonex?

If your dosage is two squirts a day. You can take Nasonex once in the morning and then one squirt again in the evening. The rule of the thumb is that you take Nasonex at precisely the same time each day. Don’t increase your dosage.

Blocked Nose Caused by Hay Fever? Here’s How to Treat It

Posted Thursday 30 April 2020 10:20 by Harman Bhamra in Hay Fever and Allergy Relief

Are you suffering from a blocked nose caused by hay fever? You are not alone. Millions of people in the UK suffer from hay fever every year. In this blog, we will show you how to treat a blocked nose at home. But before we do that, let's talk about what hay fever actually is.

What Is Hay Fever?

Also known as allergic rhinitis, hay fever is an irritation or inflammation of the nose. The symptoms of hay fever may include a runny nose, sneezing, coughing, itchiness in the throat or roof of the mouth, itchy nose and skin, watery eyes, postnasal drip, and nasal congestion. These symptoms may linger if hay fever is left untreated.

What Causes Hay Fever?

Hay fever is usually caused by allergens like pollen, mould, fungi, perfume, cigarette smoke, dust mites, and pet dander. These allergens are harmless but sometimes, the body’s immune system overreacts to these substances when they enter the body. As a result, your body produces histamines and other chemicals which are the culprit of the hay fever symptoms we’ve discussed above.

How Long Is Hay Fever Season?

Hay fever season in the UK usually begins in the early spring and summer months. Below are some of the allergens commonly present during this period:

  • May and July – grass pollen
  • February and September – tree pollen
  • June and September – weed pollen

Take note that hay fever can be perennial (all year) too. This kind of hay fever is usually caused by indoor allergens like dust, mould, and pet fur.

Treating Your Blocked Nose Caused by Hay Fever

A stuffy nose is caused by inflamed blood vessels (caused by flu, colds, infection, or allergy) in your sinuses. A blocked nose can be a right nuisance, especially when all you want to do is enjoy some fresh air. Luckily, there are some easy ways to fix it. Read below:

1. Take a hot shower

Steam from a hot shower reduces the inflammation in your nose. It also helps thin out the mucus. So, the next time you find yourself bogged down by a blocked nose, consider hopping into the bathroom and enjoy a warm shower.

You can also get the same results by breathing in steam from a pot of hot water. How to do it? Simply put a towel over your head and place your head over the hot water. Let steam build-up for some time and then take deep breaths.

2. Use a humidifier in your room

Breathing in moist air can help soothe your swollen blood vessels and irritated sinuses. Humidifiers can also help to thin out mucus. Humidifiers work by converting water into moisture that slowly fills the air around you. It's a must-have, especially during hay fever season.

3. Use a warm compress

It’s very easy to make a warm compress. Simply soak a clean towel in a bowl of warm water. Squeeze out the excess water and then fold it. Place the warm compress over your nose or forehead. A warm compress can provide relief from a blocked nose by opening your nasal passages. It can also help provide some comfort and reduce the inflammation in your nostrils.

4. Buy a saline nasal spray

A saline spray is just a saltwater solution. You spray it into your nostrils to increase moisture and to thin out the mucus that’s been blocking your nasal passages. Saline sprays also help decrease the inflammation in your sinuses.

Some saline sprays are medicated. For example, this mometasone nasal spray is a saline spray infused with corticosteroids (mometasone) that work by reducing the inflammation and swelling in your nose. Corticosteroids can also help relieve other symptoms caused by hay fever such as sneezing and itchy, watery eyes.

5. Take allergy medicines

Another way to relieve your blocked nose is by taking allergy medicines, usually antihistamines. These drugs work by countering the effect of histamines which are produced by your body when you have hay fever. Histamines cause most of the symptoms of hay fever including a stuffy nose. Antihistamines can help reduce the swelling in your sinuses and relieve your nasal congestion.

Keep in mind that some antihistamines can make you feel drowsy. Don’t take them when you need to be active (like working or driving).

6. Drink liquids

Staying hydrated can help unblock your nose. Liquids (i.e. water, juice, or sports drinks) thin out the mucus in your nasal passages, making it easier to breathe clearly. This relieves pressure on your sinuses. Thus, reducing the irritation and inflammation.

If your blocked nose comes with a sore throat, try warm tea or soup to help soothe your irritated throat too.

Final Thoughts

Remember that hay fever symptoms will not go away as long as you are still exposed to the allergen that’s causing it. All you can do is manage your symptoms.

But prevention is better than cure. Lifestyle changes like the following can help you prevent hay fever:

  • Not going outside when the pollen count is high
  • Keeping your doors and windows shut
  • Keeping pets outside the house
  • Cleaning your house
  • Not smoking inside
  • Planting a low-allergen garden
  • Damping dust regularly using a wet cloth to prevent it from collecting

Allergy Awareness Week: 8 Signs of an Allergic Reaction

Posted Tuesday 21 April 2020 11:26 by Harman Bhamra in Hay Fever and Allergy Relief

Are you feeling a bit under the weather, as though you have a sudden burst of hay fever or an intense cold? You might be having an allergic reaction. But how can you tell if you’re suffering from an allergic reaction?

We’ve listed the 8 signs of an allergic reaction below. Give it a read to see if your symptoms match.

What Is An Allergic Reaction?

Your body's immune system is responsible for keeping you safe against viruses and bacteria. However, there might be times when your "defence system" overreacts and attacks harmless foreign substances, called allergens, that enter the body.

Examples of these allergens include:

  • Bee stings
  • Certain plants
  • Moulds
  • Pollen
  • Certain foods (i.e. shellfish, nuts)
  • Pet hair/fluff
  • Certain medications (i.e. aspirin)
  • Dust

During an allergic reaction, your immune system releases certain antibodies that tell your cells to stop the allergen. In response, cells targeted by your antibodies release a substance called histamine along with other chemicals. These antibodies only target a specific allergen. That’s why some people are allergic to nuts while others are allergic to moulds.

Allergens usually enter your body through your mouth, nose, skin, and eyes. Depending on the point of entry, these allergens can cause nasal congestion, rashes, or an upset stomach.

What Are The Common Signs Of An Allergic Reaction?

Sometimes, it can be hard to distinguish an allergic reaction from the common cold. So, we've outlined below the most common signs of an allergic reaction to help you understand what you might be dealing with.

1. You experience a dry cough

When it comes to colds and allergies, throat symptoms can be hard to distinguish. But there’s a telltale difference between the two. If you are coughing up mucus, you most likely have a cold. People suffering from an allergic reaction rarely develop a productive cough. They develop a dry cough, instead.

2. Your mucus is watery or clear

Speaking of mucus, both colds and allergies start with clear liquid mucus. However, as symptoms continue, your mucus will start getting thicker and yellowish with a cold. If your mucus stays clear and watery, it’s more likely to be allergies.

3. You have itchy and watery eyes

According to Dr David Rosenstreich of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Centre, allergies are most likely to cause watery and itchy eyes than colds. Although, the latter may also cause some redness or discomfort around the eyes. Your eyes tend to tear up to wash away pollens and other allergens.

In some cases, an allergic reaction may also cause some swelling or puffiness around your eyes. This happens because your eyes have protective cells, known as mast cells, which produce histamine to fight off allergens.

4. You don’t have a fever

A fever is a telltale sign that something bad is happening in your body - almost always an infection. Allergies can elevate your body temperature but they rarely cause any fever, unlike the common cold and the flu.

5. You can still stand up

The muscle aches and joint pains caused by colds and flu can send you to bed for days! Allergies, on the other hand, are not as bad. Yes, it can make you feel tired and run-down but at the end of the day, you still have the energy to do your daily routines.

6. You have hives

Hives, medically known as Urticaria, is characterized by patches of swollen, pale red bumps on your skin. Hives appear suddenly and are often caused by allergies. It causes itching as well as a burning or stinging feeling and can appear anywhere on your body.

Hives can be as small as a coin or as large as a plate. Small patches may join together to form plaques and can last for hours or days. Hives are mostly triggered by allergic reactions from insect bites, food (i.e. nuts, fish, eggs, berries, milk, and tomatoes), and certain medications.

The best way to treat hives is by removing the trigger or cause of allergy.

7. You have diarrhoea

Diarrhoea can be another sign of an allergic reaction to certain foods like shrimp, crab peanuts, egg, peanuts, soy, and milk. It is your body's natural response to get rid of the food that it mistakenly identifies as harmful.

8. Your symptoms don’t disappear

On average, cold symptoms hang around for a week. Allergy symptoms, on the other hand, linger as long as the allergen that triggers it is still present. You will feel almost instantly better once you are no longer exposed to the allergen. It’s easy if it’s just someone else’s pet. The challenge is when it’s caused by pollen, dust mite, or moulds.

Anaphylaxis: What you Need to Know

Allergies can be serious and life-threatening when left unchecked. It could lead to a condition called anaphylaxis - a severe allergic reaction to food or medication. Anaphylaxis can cause symptoms of low pulse, rash, and shock called anaphylactic shock. Contact your doctor immediately if you encounter any of these symptoms.

How to Treat an Allergic Reaction

Most allergy symptoms are mild and don’t require urgent medical care. Allergic reactions don’t go away until the trigger is removed and you are no longer exposed to the allergen.

You can control your symptoms by heading to an online pharmacy, taking antihistamines, drinking plenty of fluids, and getting enough rest.

Antihistamines work by blocking the effects of histamine in your body. They work within 30 minutes and provide relief for hours. Depending on your symptoms, you can take an antihistamine every day to keep your symptoms checked. Antihistamines are more effective when taken regularly as a preventive measure rather than taking it when you already have symptoms.

The Signs and Symptoms of Hay Fever

Posted Monday 02 March 2020 09:30 by Harman Bhamra in Hay Fever and Allergy Relief

Hay fever or allergic rhinitis is one of the most common allergic conditions in the world. Hay fever symptoms include a runny nose, sneezing, and tiredness. More than 10 million people suffer from hay fever in the UK.

It has two types:

  1. Seasonal Hay Fever – occurs on months when individual plants pollinate. For example, if you suffer from hay fever during autumn, you are probably allergic to some weeds and fungus spores. During spring, tree pollens.
  2. Perennial Hay Fever – occurs all year round. Perennial hay fever is most likely due to indoor allergens like dust mites, animal dander (tiny flakes of skin), fur, or feathers. You may find these triggers in beddings, carpets, pillows, and draperies. Moulds can also cause hay fever symptoms. They usually thrive in damp areas like your basement or bathroom.

Common hay fever allergens:

  • Pollen
  • Fungi
  • Mould
  • Pet fur or dander
  • Dust mites
  • Perfume
  • Cigarette smoke

What Causes Hay Fever?

An overreacting immune system causes hay fever. When an allergen (e.g. pollens) enter your body, your immune system treats this as a harmful substance - setting in motion a series of defensive mechanisms to protect you. Levels of histamine and leukotrienes in your blood rise, causing the lining of your sinuses, eyelids, and nasal passages to become inflamed. You also sneeze more than usual.

These hay fever symptoms protect your body by either trapping (like in the case of swelling nasal passages so the allergens can't enter) or expelling (like in the case of sneezing) the allergens.

Hay fever is often inherited. If one or more of your family members suffer from hay fever, there’s a big chance that you’ll get one too.

What are the Symptoms of Hay Fever?

Below are the most common hay fever symptoms that you’ll encounter:

  • Prolonged and violent sneezing
  • Runny nose or blocked nose
  • Itchiness particularly in your nose, throat, and roof of your mouth
  • Itchy and watery eyes
  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Ear fullness
  • Postnasal drip that may lead to coughing
  • Anosmia or the loss of your sense of smell
  • Facial pain

Hay fever symptoms vary in severity and duration. It may also depend on weather conditions. In the UK, hay fever is often worse during late March to September. The warm, windy, and humid weather is ideal for pollen propagation.

The presence of irritants in the air often aggravates severe hay fever symptoms. The inflammation in the lining of your nose makes your nose more sensitive to irritants. Below are some of the common irritants that may make your hay fever symptoms worse:

  • Air pollution
  • Humidity changes
  • Wind
  • Strong odours
  • Wood smoke
  • Aerosol sprays
  • Irritating fumes
  • Temperature changes
  • Cigarette smoke

If left unchecked, severe hay fever symptoms can lead to various complications like:

  • Asthma
  • Ear infections (this is more common in children)
  • Sinusitis (persistent inflammation of your sinuses)
  • Allergic conjunctivitis (a complication that results when an allergen irritates the membranes on your eye)

What is the Difference Between a Cold and Hay Fever?

Many people confuse colds and hay fever. Why? Because cold and hay fever symptoms can feel similar. Hay fever treatment is very different from colds; that's why it's essential to know the differences between the two.

Cold Hay Fever
Symptoms Colds cause a runny nose, and the discharge is often thicker and yellowish. Hay fever causes a runny nose, but the discharge is watery and thin.
Duration 3-7 days. Hay fever lasts as long as the allergens that caused it are still there. Hay fever often goes on for several weeks.
Fever Colds often come with a low-grade fever. Hay fever doesn’t cause a fever.
Timing Colds begin one to three days after your exposure to the cold virus. Hay fever symptoms begin immediately after your exposure to an allergen.

Remember, the most significant difference between a cold and hay fever is that a cold will always come with body aches and a fever.

Hay Fever Treatments

You can reduce your hay fever symptoms by decreasing your exposure to allergens. For example, you can clean and air out your room regularly to prevent dust and mould from collecting. Other lifestyle changes that you can do include:

  • Washing your hands after interacting with your pets.
  • Use a dehumidifier in your room to control mould growth.
  • Keeping windows closed, especially when the weather is dry, windy, and humid to keep pollens out.
  • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes when you go outside.

Hay Fever Medications

Nasal Sprays

Nasal sprays like Mometasone and Nasonex from Express Pharmacy can help relieve nasal congestion and reduce postnasal drip. These medications contain corticosteroids which help reduce the inflammation and swelling of the lining of your nose.


Antihistamines help control your itches and sneezing. Express Pharmacy sells Fexofenadine (generic) and Telfast (branded) which you can get without a prescription. These antihistamines don't make you feel drowsy, so they're safe to use even while at work.

You can buy your hayfever treatments through Express Pharmacy.

When to See a Doctor

Most hay fever cases can be treated at home using over the counter treatments. See your GP if:

  • You have severe hay fever symptoms that don’t go away with regular hay fever treatments.
  • You are suffering side effects from your medication
  • You experience repeated sinusitis or worsening asthma
  • You experience the symptoms in an unusual time (for example during winter) or place. You might need to undergo some tests to confirm other allergens that might be causing your hay fever.

How to Prevent Hay Fever

The best way to prevent hay fever is to steer clear from the allergens that trigger it. Lifestyle changes like cleaning your home, keeping your yard clean, and daily exercise can help reduce your chances of catching hay fever again. Eating healthy can also give your immune system a boost.

When you go outside, wear a hat with a brim to protect your face. Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes. And always wash your face and hands when you get home or after interacting with your pets. During hay fever season, it’s better to keep your pets outside the house. Bathe them regularly if they come inside often.

Can These Foods Help You Avoid Hay Fever This Summer?

Posted Tuesday 25 June 2019 19:43 by Tim Deakin in Hay Fever and Allergy Relief

Summer is a time for long days, warm weather, fun and relaxation, but for many of us it’s also a time when hay fever symptoms rear their ugly head.

Hay fever, or allergic rhinitis, is a condition that occurs due to an allergic reaction to pollen. It affects up to one in five people at some point in their life, and is often at its most common during the spring and summer, when tree and grass pollen are most populous.[1]

Symptoms of hay fever usually include:

Itchy eyes and throat


Blocked or runny nose

Watering, red eyes


Blocked sinuses

Shortness of breath


There are many reports of potential cures for hay fever, including certain foods. But how effective are they?

Berries, ginger, citrus and more

A diet rich in antioxidants can help to alleviate symptoms of pollen allergy. In fact, antioxidants like Quercetin and the polyphenols have been shown to reduce sneezing in those allergic to pollen and dust. These antioxidants can be found in common fruits, herbs and vegetables such as red apples, onions, garlic, grapes and berries.[3]

Quercetin works in synergy with another important antioxidant: vitamin C. Found in citrus fruits, broccoli and dark leafy greens, vitamin C is an important anti-allergy component as it strengthens the immune system, calming allergic reactions due to its anti-inflammatory properties.[4]

Speaking of anti-inflammatory properties, spices like ginger and turmeric are among the most effective ingredients, inhibiting the production of the inflammatory compound histamine.[5]

Tried and tested methods for dealing with hay fever

It’s important to remember that, while increasing your intake of these foods may help reduce your symptoms, they don’t offer guaranteed success if used alone.

The NHS provides several key tips for reducing the impact of hay fever during peak times of year. These include:

Putting Vaseline around your nostrils to trap pollen

Showering and changing your clothes after going outside

Staying indoors whenever possible

Wearing wraparound sunglasses to protect your eyes

Vacuuming regularly and dusting with a damp cloth

Keeping windows and doors shut

Investing in a pollen filter for your home air vents[6]

Combining treatments and precautionary methods can give you a greater chance of success when it comes to keeping your hay fever symptoms in check.

Medication can help you enjoy the summer without worry

For many people, antihistamine medication is necessary in order to ensure regular relief from hay fever. Unlike the foods mentioned above, these medications are specifically designed to tackle the impact of hay fever on your health and wellbeing during peak times of year, meaning they’ll probably be more reliable when it comes to alleviating your symptoms this summer.

Both oral medications and steroid nasal sprays can help encourage an anti-inflammatory response to your hay fever, offering significant daily relief.[7] Studies have found medication options such as Fexofenadine to be a clinically effective option for the treatment of hay fever, and one which offers minimal side effects.[8]

You can find safe and effective allergy relief medication like Fexofenadine, Telfast and Nasonex right here at Express Pharmacy. And if you have any questions for our team, call us today on 0208 123 07 03 or use our discreet online Live Chat service.

[1] NHS Inform. Hay Fever. 2019

[2] Allergy UK. Hay Fever (Allergic Rhinitis). 2019

[3] Barszcz, N. What to eat to beat hay fever. Healthy Magazine. 2018.

[4] Holford, P. Seven nutrients that work for hay fever. Patrick Holford. 2018

[5] Mashhadi, N.S., Anti-Oxidative and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Ginger in Health and Physical Activity: Review of Current Evidence. International Journal of Preventive Medicine. 2013.

[6] NHS UK. Hay Fever. 2017

[7] Asthma UK. Hay fever treatments.2019

[8] Simpson, K. Jarvis, B. Fexofenadine: a review of its use in the management of seasonal allergic rhinitis and chronic idiopathic urticaria. Drugs. 2000

The Relationship Between Alcohol and Hay Fever

Posted Tuesday 04 June 2019 23:10 by Tim Deakin in Hay Fever and Allergy Relief

alcohol and hay fever

Hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis, is thought to affect between 10 and 30% of all adults and up to 40% of children.

But studies have suggested that the symptoms of hay fever – such as sneezing, coughing and a runny nose – could be made worse when alcohol is consumed. Let’s take a closer look at this theory.

Does alcohol worsen hay fever?

Alcohol can indeed make hay fever symptoms feel worse, but it’s not the alcohol itself which does this, it’s the substances found within your alcoholic beverage.

Beer, wine and many liquors all contain histamine. This is produced by yeast and bacteria during the fermentation process. The problem with this is that histamine is the very substance we are trying to defend ourselves against in the hay fever cycle. Hence why hay fever medication is often referred to as “antihistamines”.

This link between alcohol and hay fever has been shown time and time again through research. For example, one 2005 study based in Sweden saw scientists examine thousands of participants. They found that those diagnosed with hay fever, asthma or bronchitis were far more likely to experience symptoms such as a runny nose, sneezing and ”lower airway symptoms” after having a drink.

Do some drinks affect hay fever more than others?

Alcoholic drinks like red wine, white wine, cider and beer are more likely to trigger your hay fever symptoms as they contain higher levels of histamines. Meanwhile, clear spirits like gin and vodka are less likely to trigger a reaction from hay fever sufferers as they contain lower histamine levels.

So if you’re a hay fever sufferer, you may want to opt for a gin and tonic rather than a pint this summer.

Again, this has been shown through research. One study of thousands of women in 2008 found that having more than two glasses of wine a day almost doubles the risk of hay fever symptoms, even among participants who didn’t suffer from the condition at the start of the study.

What else contains histamines?

Unfortunately, alcohol isn’t the only substance which can aggravate hay fever symptoms thanks to high levels of histamines. In fact, histamines are common in many food items, including:

  • Pickled or canned foods
  • Smoked meat products
  • Matured cheeses
  • Shellfish
  • Walnuts and cashew nuts
  • Vinegar
  • Chickpeas, soybeans and peanuts
  • Ready meals
  • Some salty snacks
  • Chocolate and other cocoa-based products

So if you’re suffering from significant hay fever symptoms, examining your diet may be a good place to start when it comes to treating them.

Treating hay fever this summer

The following measures are recommended for dealing with hay fever during periods of high pollen:

  • Putting Vaseline around your nostrils to trap pollen
  • Wearing wraparound sunglasses to protect your eyes
  • Staying indoors
  • Showering and changing your clothes after going outside
  • Keeping windows and doors shut
  • Hoovering regularly
  • Buying a pollen filter

Antihistamine medication is also strongly advised, as this can help you enjoy your summer more freely without worrying about your symptoms becoming uncomfortable or debilitating. You can find safe and effective hay fever relief medication at Express Pharmacy.

Get in touch with our team today by calling 0208 123 07 03 or by using our discreet Live Chat service.

Is the Common Cold More Common in Spring?

Posted Tuesday 07 May 2019 16:32 by Tim Deakin in Hay Fever and Allergy Relief

common cold

As its name suggests, the common cold is one of the most prevalent health conditions around the globe. Almost all UK adults will experience a cold at some point int their lifetime, but luckily, the condition tends to be mild. Usually lasting no more than a week or two, the common cold can generally be treated with rest, sleep and plenty of fluids.[1]

Although we tend to think of a cold as something that strikes in winter, research shows that the condition can easily catch us off guard as the weather gets warmer.

Are colds more common in spring?

A study published in the American Society for Microbiology found that, although the common cold is most dominant in winter, the arrival of spring sees it get a second wind.[2] So though the cold can be seen as a winter condition, it can still strike as the temperature rises.

This is partly because any shift in climate and season can leave us more vulnerable to illness. Our bodies get used to dealing with a certain kind of environment, so when that changes it can force the body into a period of adjustment. This is a view shared by Dr Bradley Chipps, president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, who states that changes in barometric pressure, temperature and wind can compromise your immune system’s built-in defences against cold and flu.[3]

It’s also possible that people are more likely to venture outside in spring and interact with others. This is good for our overall health, but potentially risky when it comes to colds. The weather may have warmed up a bit but could still be cool enough to encourage the spread of cold viruses. Factors like these may account for studies that have found spring to be an even more important time for rhinovirus transmission than the early autumn.[4]

Are spring and summer colds worse than their winter counterparts?

The rhinovirus is the most common cause of the cold, responsible for as many as 50% of cold infections.[5] Rhinovirus has been shown to thrive best in colder, drier climates[6] but other causes of cold-like symptoms, such as enteroviruses, are more common in the summer and can lead to more severe symptoms.[7]

A study published in Health Psychology found that spring and summer colds can feel worse than winter ones because they’re unexpected, and patients feel like they’re suffering alone. In other words, feeling like your missing out on fun in the sun can actually make your symptoms feel worse.[8]

In some cases, people may experience cold-like symptoms when they’re actually suffering from common springtime health concerns – typically hay fever. Allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, is an allergic reaction to pollen, which starts to become more prevalent in the atmosphere during spring. Between 10 and 30% of all adults suffer from hay fever[9], and symptoms can include sneezing, coughing, a blocked nose, itchy eyes, headaches and lethargy, all of which are also common in colds.[10]

So while the common cold may be at its most common in winter, it’s a good idea to take precaution against the condition all year round.

Find safe and effective antihistamine medication here at Express Pharmacy. Click here to see our hay fever treatments for yourself or get in touch with our team today by calling 0208 123 07 03. You can also use our discreet Live Chat system to discuss your health concerns.

[1] NHS UK. Common Cold. 2017

[2] Jacobs, SE., Lamson, DM., George, KS. & Walsh, TJ. Human Rhinovirus. American Society for Microbiology. 2013.

[3] Heid, M. Why are you more likely to get sick when the seasons change? TIME Magazine. 2018.

[4] Monto, AS. The seasonality of rhinovirus infections and its implications for clinical recognition. Clinical Therapeutics. 2002

[5] Annamalay, AA. et al. Prevalence of and Risk Factors for Human Rhinovirus Infection in Healthy Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal Western Australian Children. 2013.

[6] Ikäheimo, TM. et al. A Decrease in Temperature and Humidity Precedes Human Rhinovirus Infections in a Cold Climate. 2016.

[7] NIH. Catching a Cold When It’s Warm. 2012

[8] LeRoy, AS., Murdock, KW., Jaremka, LM., Loya, A. Loneliness Predicts Self-Reported Cold Symptoms After a Viral Challeneg. Health Psychology. 2017.

[9] Allergy UK. Allergic Rhinitis (Hay fever). 2013

[10] NHS UK. Hay Fever. 2017

How to Spot the Differences Between Hay Fever and a Cold

Posted Monday 18 March 2019 13:31 by Johanna Galyen in Hay Fever and Allergy Relief

hay fever medication

As the cold weather turns into springtime, we start to feel the urge to get outside and enjoy the flowers, budding trees, gentle breezes, and sunshine. The excitement of the warmer weather can quickly dampen with the coming of hay fever season. But is it really hay fever? Is the scratchy sore throat a sign of allergies or an infection? Isn’t it still cold and flu season? Should I just stay home from work? Before the panic starts to ensue, let’s stop for a few moments and look at the eight differences between hay fever and the common cold.

1: The common cold is caused by a viral infection

According to Medical News Today, the common cold is most frequently from coronaviruses or rhinoviruses. While there are over 200 subtypes of viruses that can cause these symptoms, it is usually impossible to tell which virus is making a person sick. Thankfully, these viruses are generally short-lived, and you’ll start to feel better pretty soon.

2. Hay Fever is caused by an allergic reaction

pollen countThe body protects itself through the immune system. The immune system works 24:7 to protect you from germs, viruses, and bacteria. For those susceptible to hay fever, the pollen is identified as an invader and many symptoms like allergic rhinitis can be seen. Just know this: your immune system wants it gone!

To get rid of the allergen, the body produces histamine. Histamine is similar to a chemical messenger in that it signals your body to start making more fluids and mucus to trap the invader and flush it away. What does that mean for you? Hay fever can produce watery eyes, fluid in your ears, congestion in your nose, and a draining-like sensation in the back of your throat.

As annoying as these symptoms are, the body is just trying to protect itself from the foreign invaders. To treat these symptoms, your GP may recommend some antihistamines (a medicine that fights against the histamine).

3. An itchy throat is different than a sore throat

When you first notice that dreaded feeling in your throat, stop and evaluate what you are really feeling. There is a difference between a dry, scratchy (itchy) throat and a painful throat. Pain and soreness usually indicate an infection like the common cold. Severe throat pain may mean that you have a bacterial infection like strep throat.

A scratchy, itchy feeling in your throat is typical of allergies. This feeling is caused by the presence of pollen or growing grasses that irritates your nose and mouth.

A word of caution: An itchy throat is also a sign of a dangerous allergic reaction, called anaphylaxis. It may be accompanied by a swelling or a tight closing sensation in the back of your throat. Sometimes, a person’s voice may start sounding – typically higher-pitched and more strained. If you have any of these symptoms, seek medical treatment immediately by calling 999.

4. Check the colour of your mucus

This may sound a little bit gross, but the colour of your mucus is helpful to determine if you have allergies or illness. Clear drainage is typical of allergies whereas shades of yellow and green can indicate an infection. If you are seeing green, then you should be seeing your general practitioner.

Here’s a tip: don’t check the colour of the mucus for the first few hours when you wake up. During the night, the mucus can dry out somewhat, and it naturally turns yellow, greenish, and brown. Wait a few hours, and then see what colour it is.

5. Look at your eyes

The Eyes are the window to your soul – Shakespeare

Shakespeare wasn’t a physician, but he was very accurate when talking about the eyes. How your eyes look also can reflect your health. Symptoms of hay fever that involves the eyes can include:

  • Redness around the eyes
  • Itching of the eyes
  • Clear watering or tearing of the eyes
  • Puffiness around the eye
  • Pain around the sinuses

Sometimes a cold virus can affect the eyes, so it is important to highlight how the similarities and differences. Those who have a cold virus may experience:

  • Redness of the eye (also known as pink-eye)
  • Soreness around the eyes
  • Yellow or green drainage (worse in the mornings)
  • Painful eyes
  • Sinus pressure and pain

Remember, if you have yellow or green drainage coming out of your eyes, this should be handled carefully. The drainage can carry the virus and can be shared with others, so wash your hands frequently!

6. Timing is important

The timing, or the progression of a cold virus, is different than allergies. A cold often comes on slowly over a few days and progressively gets worse. Allergies can attack you at any time with any range of severity. How long that you are ill is also important to note. The common cold typically lasts up to 14 days. Allergies can last for weeks and months.

Here’s a tip: check the pollen counts for the day, and see if you should protect your nose and mouth from the pollen before you go outside.

7. Do you have body aches and a fever?

Aching joints and muscle pains are often the symptoms of the common cold or flu virus. These typically occur at the beginning of the infection. Additionally, if your body temperature goes above 37.6° C, this usually indicates that you have a fever as your body is trying to kill the virus.

Seasonal allergies, like hay fever, do not cause body aches or fever in most people. Some people may experience a slight increase in temperature, but it is really a fever unless your temperature passes 37.6° C or 100.4° F.

8. Is there an Allergic Salute?

Just as a member of the military salutes a higher-ranking official, there is a salute for allergies. The so-called allergic salute refers to the constant wiping of one’s nose. It can create a small red crease on the bridge of the nose, and it is most often seen in children. Adults, who suffer from hay fever, can also have this redness.

Those with the common cold typically have red, puffy noses from constant blowing, but they do not have the crease on their nose or are seen wiping it continually.

Knowing the difference between hay fever and the common cold is important for your health. In some situations, you may need additional support, treatment, and medication. Discover medication for a variety of health concerns – from antihistamines to nasal sprays – here at Express Pharmacy. We can help you gain access to effective treatment for hay fever swiftly and discreetly. Contact us today by calling 0208 123 07 03 or by using our online Live Chat service.

Is Your Hay Fever Really Hay Fever?

Posted Monday 30 April 2018 09:48 by Tim Deakin in Hay Fever and Allergy Relief

Article updated March 2020

Allergy misdiagnosis is common in the UK, so it’s time to clear things up

Around one in four people in the UK now suffer from seasonal allergic rhinitis, also known hay fever. This equates to 16 million people, compared to just one in eight during the 1980s. Indeed, according to experts from Allergy UK[i], this number may reach 30 million by the year 2030. In particular, it seems that there has been an explosion in the number of children and middle-aged people suffering from the condition. However, despite its common nature, detailed information about the condition remains hard to find.

Is Hay Fever Often Misdiagnosed?

Professor of the Royal Brompton allergy clinic in London[ii], Stephen Durham, says: “Family members, GPs, even patients themselves can dismiss hay fever as just a bit of sneezing, but for about 10% of sufferers it causes abject misery.”

Misdiagnosis is also common when it comes to hay fever, says Dr Adrian Morris of the Surrey Allergy Clinic: “Many go to the GP complaining of sinus problems and end up on antibiotics when they really have hay fever and need antihistamines and nasal spray.”

However, Durham points out that the reverse is also true, saying that there are also many people convinced that they have hay fever when in fact they are suffering from a different allergy.

How To Know When Allergies Are To Blame

Often, it becomes easier to determine what kind of allergy you are suffering from once you determine the time of year that your allergy peaks. Of course, the question might not be “Do I have hay fever” at all if there are other potential triggers for your allergy. But here are some of the most common sources of allergic reactions that can be defined as hay fever or display similar symptoms to hay fever:

Grass: Grass pollen is undoubtedly the most common and well-known of hay fever triggers. The typical pollen season lasts from the first week of May to the second week of September, with a peak from the first week in June to the last week in July.

Birch: Around 25% of allergy sufferers have an allergy to birch trees. This birch season is earlier than the pollen season, lasting from mid-March to the first week in June and peaking from late March to mid-May.

Mould: These allergies are the result of various common kinds of mould, such as Cladosporium and Alternaria. Mould allergies usually flare-up in early autumn and late spring, particularly after a rain shower when the mould spores attach to water molecules in the air.

Oak: Oak allergies are usually mild, though can be more severe in some cases. The allergy season lasts from the first week of April to mid-June and peaks from the end of April to early June.

Nettle: Everyone remembers nettles for their painful stinging potential, but they can also be a source of a mild allergic reaction. The season lasts from the beginning of May to the end of September and peaks from the end of June to the beginning of August.

Oilseed rape: Like grass, oilseed rape allergies come about as a result of airborne pollen. This allergy season for oilseed rape is earlier than that of grass pollen allergies, lasting from the end of March to mid-June. It peaks from mid-May to the end of June.

Pets: Unlike the other allergies listed, pet allergies are not dependant on the time of year. Cat allergies and dog allergies are the most prevalent causes of allergies in the UK, simply due to the proximity of these animals to us in our daily lives. As our pets shed hair and skin cells, these materials make their way into the air, carpets, bedding and furniture – providing a significant risk to those whose immune system is particularly responsive to these particles. Horse allergies are also not uncommon for those who come into contact with these animals.

Dust and dust mites: Dust is a common culprit for allergy sufferers whose symptoms flare up in colder months, although symptoms can be present all year. Dust allergies tend to be worse indoors in winter due to central heating. While dust mites are a very different source of irritation to pollens, the symptoms of the human body’s allergic reaction can be very similar.

Dust mites are close relatives to ticks and spiders but are too small to see without the aid of a microscope. When dust mites are released into the atmosphere they may trigger inflammation of the nasal passageways, leading to the same type of sneezing and runny nose found in hay fever sufferers. Indeed, those who are susceptible to hay fever may also be inclined towards a similar reaction to dust and dust mites in the air.

Tell Me More About Hay Fever Symptoms

Given the wide range of pollens and particles in the air throughout the year, it is not surprising that many people find that they suffer from year-round hay fever – with allergies that can become particularly debilitating if left untreated.

In addition to the tree pollens referenced above, it is also possible to experience hay fever symptoms relating to:

  • Alder pollen
  • Ash pollen
  • Hazel pollen
  • Sycamore pollen
  • Willow pollen
  • Plantain pollen
  • Sorrel/dock pollen
  • Mugworth pollen

Which Hay Fever Tablets Are Right For You?

If you do determine that hay fever is responsible for your allergies, there are several treatment options for you to consider.

Fexofenadine: This is a popular unbranded hay fever medication which is medically equivalent to branded options but is more cost-effective. It acts as an effective non-drowsy antihistamine by preventing the release of chemicals which cause hay fever symptoms.nasonex

Mometasone: This is another popular unbranded medication for allergy relief, this time in the form of a nasal spray. It can help tackle symptoms like itchy eyes, sneezing and congestion.

Telfast: Telfast is the branded equivalent of fexofenadine, acting in exactly the same way to tackle hay fever symptoms.

Nasonex: Again, Nasonex is the branded equivalent of mometasone. It works to treat seasonal hay fever and year-round allergic rhinitis.

Each of these treatments can be prescribed by Express Pharmacy, depending on symptoms and your individual requirements.

I've Tried Hay Fever Medication - It Doesn't Work

In the rare where medication is not proving to be effective, it can be beneficial to request an allergy test. Allergy tests can take two forms and can be requested with an immunologist through your GP. They include:

Allergy skin prick test – small amounts of allergen extracts are applied to the skin surface in order to ascertain, whether the body has an allergic reaction. This test can be applied to not only pollen but also dust mites and animal hairs. Skin tests are also commonly used to diagnose nut allergies.

Allergy blood test – by taking a small sample of blood from a vein in the arm, it is possible to test for the Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibody – the defence mechanism produced when pollen is detected.[iii]

Why are more people suffering from hay fever?

It is not known precisely why more people are suffering from hay fever today than were 30 or 40 years ago. However, it is thought that there could be a few contributing factors. One view is that the increasingly hygienic and sanitised world that we now live in tends to expose us to fewer threats to our immune system than would have been the case in previous generations. Anecdotally it appears that more people are suffering from hay fever onset in mid-life than ever before. And this has been attributed by some experts to people enjoying a cleaner environment in later life resulting in a sensitised response to pollen in later life.

Another factor which is thought to have contributed to the rise in hay fever sufferers is the documented increase on pollen count around the UK. While it may appear that cities are less likely to feature high pollen counts, traffic fumes have been found to help spread pollen and ensure that it is hard for city workers to escape the effects of hay fever.

Article updated March 2020





Jane Legg on Friday 18 May 2018 14:33

I have all year round an itchy running nose, I can only put this down to house dust/mould I take Chlorphenamine Maleate at night so i don't wake up in the night, can I get this on prescription from my doctor or can u suggest anything else

Ann Slater on Friday 13 July 2018 09:46

I am allergic to animals, dust and mould ( especially animals). Are you able to comment on which are the most effective medications for this ?


Your Guide to Beating Allergies This Spring

Posted Thursday 05 April 2018 13:08 by Tim Deakin in Hay Fever and Allergy Relief

While most of us look forward to the longer days and (slightly warmer) conditions in spring, there are some that approach the season with trepidation. Allergy sufferers.

Hay fever affects up to 30% of all UK adults, and as we enter the prime time of year for pollen allergies, many people will see their symptoms begin to worsen.

The warmer weather of spring leads to an increased pollen count. Here are just some of the symptoms which can occur:

  • Itchy, red or watery eyes
  • Runny or blocked nose
  • Frequent coughing and sneezing
  • Headaches and earaches
  • Tiredness
  • Itchiness in the throat, mouth, nose and ears
  • Reduced sense of smell

But for those of you suffering with hay fever, fear not. We’re here to show you what you can do to reduce your symptoms and make the most of the new season.

What you should (and shouldn’t) do to beat hay fever this spring

If you worry that your hay fever symptoms are going to flare up this spring and summer, here are a few simple lifestyle changes you can make to give yourself the best chance of fighting off your allergies. We’ve also listed some of the things you should not do, as these can end up making your hay fever symptoms worse.

What you should do to avoid hay fever:

  • Reduce the amount of time you spend outdoors
  • Keep the windows and doors closed as much as possible to prevent pollen from entering your house
  • Vacuum regularly and dust with a damp cloth, as this will remove any pollen from the home
  • Consider buying a HEPA filter vacuum which is specifically designed for allergy sufferers, and a pollen filter for your car
  • When you do go outside, wear wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen getting in your eyes
  • Also, put Vaseline around your nostrils to trap pollen
  • When you re-enter the home, shower and change your clothes

What you should not do:

  • Keep fresh flowers in the home as they will bring pollen
  • Spend too much time outdoors. The longer you are outdoors, the greater your risk of symptoms occurring
  • Cut the grass or walk on grass
  • Dry your clothes outside, as they could catch pollen
  • Let pets into the home when they have been outside
  • Smoke, or be around others who smoke. Cigarette smoke can make your symptoms worse

Consider allergy relief medication

Hay fever can be a debilitating and frustrating condition when all you want to do is enjoy the warmer spring weather. Many people who suffer with allergies take medication to reduce their symptoms, particularly those who don’t want the pollen in the air to stop them from getting out and about. Telfast is a branded antihistamine while Fexofenadine is its unbranded equivalent. Both are effective and fast-acting medications for allergy relief, and are available from Express Pharmacy, but don’t just take our word for it! Here’s what some of our customers had to say…

On Telfast:

“I used these many years ago and the product still does what I want it to do. I’m very happy with that.”


“This product is excellent.”


On Fexofenadine:

“Better than any over the counter products.”


“The product I ordered is very good, I have been using it for quite some time. I don’t know of any other pharmacy where I can buy it.”


If you’re worried about your hay fever this spring, let Express Pharmacy help. Click here to find out more about the effective medications we offer. If you have any queries, don’t hesitate to call our friendly team on 0208 123 07 03 or use our discreet online Live Chat service.