With approximately 30 different types of pollen that can cause hay fever, including tree pollen such as Birch and Willow, it’s no surprise that hay fever affects millions of people in the UK. Not many people are familiar with the side-effects that hay fever can cause, but here Dr Babak Ashrafi, a GP at Superdrug Online Doctor, breaks them down and shares what you can do to help alleviate symptoms.

Side-effects of hay fever

Energy levels depleting

Dr Ashrafi said: “When we have an allergy, whether it’s hay fever related or not, our bodies work in overdrive to fight off the foreign bodies (allergens) which can lead to a drop in energy levels. Other hay fever symptoms such as a runny nose can also result in a restless night’s sleep, depleting energy levels further.”

Change in mood

Dr Ashrafi said: “Common hay fever symptoms such as sneezing, congestion and irritable eyes can inadvertently affect your mood. It has even been reported that in a self-report study, self-reported lower moods were associated with high pollen counts.”

Link between hay fever and mental health

Dr Ashrafi said: “There are studies that assess any correlation between hay fever sufferers and psychiatric disorders, but while hay fever hasn’t been proven to directly cause mental health conditions, its symptoms can affect a person’s mental health.”

What you can do to relieve hay fever symptoms

Dr Ashrafi said: “For light relief of common hay fever symptoms such as irritable eyes and a blocked nose, you can use products like Superdrug’s Allergy Eye Drops and Superdrug’s Saline Nasal Spray. If you think that hay fever is causing further problems like a change in mood or energy levels, please consult your Superdrug pharmacist who will be able to advise on the best form of treatment.”

When you should start taking hay fever medication

Dr Ashrafi said: “You should always take note of when you start experiencing hay fever symptoms each year so you can prepare ahead the following year. I would advise to start taking an anti-drowsy antihistamine one to two weeks before you normally start experiencing hay fever symptoms, to build up your body’s defence, and then one tablet a day until the hay fever season ends.”