Drugs & Tablets

There are a variety of over the counter and prescription drugs available to treat Hay Fever. From experience I can say with some confidence people respond to different active ingredients. Due to the number of people suffering Hay Fever remedies are becoming more and more commercial and you are likely to know several brand names you have picked up from the media even if you do not suffer.

The active ingredient in tablets is the most important factor. I would try at least three different a time ingredients to determine what works best for you. Often you can purchase unbranded or supermarket brands of tablets far cheaper than you can brand names. Over the counter medicine can soon mount up to quite an amount so most should do a little shopping around. With prescription prices most tablets are available cheaper over the counter especially when prescriptions tend to be valid for 28 days worth of treatment.

Generally Antihistamines are referred to a either sedating or non-sedating.

Non-Sedating Antihistamines: (Brand Names in Brackets)

Very Common Active Ingredients:

Cetirizine Hydrochloride (Cetrizine)
Loratadine (Loratadine)
Acrivastine (Benadryl)

Common Active Ingredients:

Desloratadine (Neoclarityn)
Fexofenadine Hydrochloride (Fexofenadine) (Telfast)
Levocetirizine Hydrochloride (Xyzal)
Mizolastine (Mizollen)

Sedating Antihistamines: (Brand Names in Brackets)

Alimemazine Tartrate or Trimeprazine Tartrate (Vallergan)
Chlorphenamine Maleate (Chlorphenamine) (Piriton)
Clemastine (Tavegil)
Cyproheptadine Hydrochloride (Periactin)
Hydroxyzine Hydrochloride (Atarax) (Ucerax)
Ketotifen (Zaditen)
Promethazine Hydrochloride (Phenergan)

Nasal Sprays

There are various brands of Nasal Spray available but I find they deal with the nasal and throat symptoms better than simply tablets alone. Unlike tablets they have a short expiry when opened so keep an eye on the label and consider writing the date of opening, using a permanent marker, on the bottle to help you remember when you opened it.

Eye Drops

Again various Eye Drops are available, I mainly use them to help relieve the symptom of itchy eyes. Some people find putting the drops in a little difficult and it goes against the natural reflexes of not wanting to put anything in your eyes so it is a little strange. I sometimes find they sting a little when my eyes are at their worst but normally this is insignificant compared to the symptoms. Again the expiry dates are short after you first open the drops so keep a good eye on this if you use Eye Drops.

Local Honey

Local Honey can be very useful and is best taken year round. The logic behind this is that Bee’s are busy collecting the pollen while your suffering and this pollen is used to make Honey. Local honey is made by Bee’s collecting the pollen “locally” and therefore there is a greater chance that the Bee’s are collecting the same type of Pollen as you are! As with Immunotherapy this is believed to work as you are exposing your body to the Pollen you are allergic to in smaller volumes and contained within a syrup, this way makes it unlikely to end up in your nose and eyes causing you Hay Fever problems. Exposing yourself to this all year round teaches your body tolerance of the allergen and reduces your “seasonal” allergic response.

Red Light Treatment

Reasonably new to the scene is “Red Light Therapy.” This normally comes in the form of a small battery powered unit with a wire and two probes on the end. You insert these two probes painlessly into your nostrils, switch the unit on and the probes light up emitting red light. This is believed to have a more natural antihistamine effect, working directly on the membranes withing the nose so they produce less histamine. A 2008 clinical trial showed 72% of patients had a reduction in symptoms although in practice most people would use it in combination with other treatments so its more difficult to work out if it has had a beneficial result. I do own a red light unit and although I last used it a few years ago I did find it to be quite effective. They have been around for a few years now and prices are fairly reasonable. Obviously you tend to use the unit in private as it does make your nose bright red!

HEPA Air Filters

HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Arresting) filers work by trapping pollen particles in the air, reducing those grains per cubic metre and lowering the Pollen count in a particular room. The British Allergy Foundation recommends certain products so it is best to look out for those.

Other Methods

Placing Vaseline just inside the entrance to your nose is supposed to help remove grains of Pollen from the air you breath before they get deep inside your nose.

Wear Sunglasses as they help prevent the wind blowing Pollen into your eyes.

Dry your clothes indoors or use a tumble dryer to prevent the wind coating your Laundry with Pollen outside.

Drive with the Air Conditioning on in the car as this filters the air the most and most modern cars have Pollen filters.