Six simple ways to ease hay fever symptoms

Lead Physician for Canary Wharf and King's Cross, Bupa UK
06 June 2018

Blocked or runny nose, sore, itchy eyes and sneezing what feels like every second of the day? If this is you, you may have hay fever. Around three in every 10 adults in the UK have hay fever – and with the pollen season in full swing, the question on everyone’s mind is what can I do to help?

Here we look at six simple ways you might be able to help ease your hay fever symptoms.

Meadow flowers during Spring

  1. Check the pollen count

    The Met Office’s pollen forecast gives a daily update on the pollen count in your area. By staying ahead of the forecast, you can plan and take protective measures to help reduce your exposure. If the count is high, keep out of the pollen’s way!

  2. Keep the outdoors from coming in

    Try to keep doors and windows shut. If you’re in the car, avoid opening the window and use the air-conditioning instead. If your car has pollen filters, make sure you get these changed at each service.

  3. Wash away the pollen

    Pollen can settle on your clothes and in your hair. Wash them regularly to rid them of pollen that might have accumulated. When you wash your clothes, avoid drying them outside on the washing line. Use an indoor drying rack instead.

  4. Protect your nose and eyes

    The classic symptoms of hay fever start when pollen comes in contact with your nose and eyes. Wearing wrap-around sunglasses, putting a barrier balm (such as Vaseline) around your nose and using nasal filters can help to prevent contact and may ease your symptoms.

  5. Consider investing in a HEPA filter

    A HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter is designed to trap small particles such as pollen and stop them from circulating around your home. Some vacuum cleaners come with built-in HEPA filter, so this could be something to look into too.

  6. Find medicines that work for you

    Last but not least, get your medication right. There are many different medicines for hay fever, including tablets, nasal sprays and eye drops. You can buy many of these over the counter from your local pharmacy or in the supermarket. Your doctor may be able to prescribe medicines for hay fever, but in the first instance ask your pharmacist for advice. Learn more about the treatments for hay fever – and for those of you who’ve heard the hype that gin and tonic is going to ‘cure’ your hay fever this summer – think again. It’s not that cut and dry.

    Scientists have done some research into the effects alcohol has on the immune system and allergic conditions such as hay fever and asthma, but we can’t draw any firm conclusions yet. There are also the many health risks of drinking alcohol, so think twice before you lunge for the gin this summer.




Even healthy people become unhealthy sometimes. Health insurance can help you get prompt access to the treatment and support you need to help you get back on the road to recovery. Learn more with our useful guide to understanding health insurance.

Dr Luke Powles
Lead Physician for Canary Wharf and King's Cross, Bupa UK

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