Spring can bring misery to millions of hay fever sufferers across the country. Fortunately, experts have provided ways you can help ease symptoms.

Hay fever is a common allergy amongst people in the UK - specifically an allergy to pollen and sometimes even dust. Triggers can include tree and grass pollen.

Hay fever isn't harmful, although it can feel unpleasant and uncomfortable. There is no cure for hay fever, unfortunately, but, it is possible to lessen irritating symptoms yourself.

Hay fever can trigger cold-like symptoms between March and September, when the pollen count is at its highest. The most common symptoms include sneezing, coughing and itchy eyes.

A 2020 study by Allergy UK and Kleenex revealed there has been a surge in UK hay fever sufferers over the last few years. Up to 49 per cent of the UK population report suffering from the condition.

Boots explained that there's no specific time of the day when someone's hay fever is worse, such as early in the morning or at night. It's more likely that your hay fever gets worse when the weather is warm, windy, humid or especially sunny.

Symptoms of hay fever

The NHS has detailed a list of common symptoms, which include:

  • frequent sneezing and coughing
  • a runny or blocked nose
  • itchy, red or watery eyes
  • itchy throat, mouth, nose and ears

There's also a possibility that you could experience some other less common symptoms, such as:

  • loss of smell (anosmia)
  • pain around the sides of your head and your forehead
  • headache
  • earache
  • feeling tired and fatigue

Treatments for hay fever sufferers

The most effective way to control hay fever would be to avoid exposure to pollen. Whether that's closing your doors and windows in the warm weather or taking over-the-counter medicine.

The NHS has listed the best precautions to follow during hay fever season.

  • wear wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen getting in your eyes when you’re outdoors
  • take a shower and change your clothes after being outdoors to remove the pollen on your body
  • stay indoors when the pollen count is high (over 50 grains per cubic metre of air)
  • apply a small amount of Vaseline (petroleum gel) to the nostrils to trap pollen

The NHS also recommends vacuuming regularly and dust with a damp cloth, and try to use a pollen filter in the air vents of your car, if you have one, and a HEPA filter in your vacuum cleaner. However, if you find that these simple steps aren't working for you, a pharmacist can help you with antihistamines or steroid nasal sprays.

When it comes to what hay fever suffers should avoid doing, some may be hard to do, especially if you're heading outside. To alleviate your symptoms as much as possible, you should not cut grass or walk on grass.

You should also try to avoid spending too much time outside; avoid keeping fresh flowers in the house; do not smoke or be around smoke – it makes your symptoms worse; do not dry clothes outside – they can catch pollen; and do not let pets into the house if possible – they can carry pollen indoors.