Seasonal allergic rhinitis
Lisa Miles, from Kent, tried a number of different treatments for hay fever before she found the right one for her.
"When I first got hay fever, I already had Asthma and I just thought my symptoms were connected to this. My head and nose felt very congested. My eyes would feel very sore, red and itchy, especially when I was near flowers. It was during a routine check with my GP that hay fever was diagnosed.
"My symptoms tend to flare up from February until September. Hay fever can make my asthma worse and I used to have problems sleeping too. It's like trying to go to sleep with a bad cold. Luckily, the medication I take has helped me get to sleep.
"I take antihistamines prescribed by my doctor regularly throughout the hay fever season. These are non-drowsy, so they don't affect my day-to-day life. I also use eye drops. I find that this treatment helps a lot. It doesn't get rid of my symptoms completely, but it makes them manageable.
"I've also had to make a few lifestyle changes. I now avoid cutting the grass. If I really have to, I do it late in the evening, when pollen counts are lower. I always keep my windows shut too. I try not to sit outside when pollen counts are high in the morning and late-afternoon. Taking medication before the hay fever season starts has really helped as well.
"My advice to anyone with hay fever is to try a different antihistamine if the one prescribed isn't effective. I tried several antihistamines before I found one that really helped my symptoms. Dont feel shy about going back to your doctor and asking for a different one if your symptoms aren't relieved."
Rhinitis, also known as Hay fever, is a common allergic condition. Symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes. There's currently no cure for hay fever, but most people are able to relieve symptoms with treatment, at least to a certain extent.
Hay fever symptoms vary in severity and may be worse some years, depending on the weather conditions and pollen count. The time of year your symptoms start will depend on the types of pollen you're allergic to. Symptoms include frequent sneezing; a blocked or runny nose; itchy, red or watery eyes; etc.
It's unclear what causes the immune system to react in this way, but there are several factors that can increase your risk of developing hay fever. Risk factors include asthma and a family history of hay fever.
Your GP should be able to diagnose hay fever from a description of your symptoms. In some cases, you may be referred for allergy testing.
Before going to see your GP, you could visit your pharmacist and try to treat your hay fever symptoms with over-the-counter medications, such as antihistamines. Make an appointment to see your GP if your symptoms don't improve after using antihistamines.
Hay fever can lead to complications such as sinusitis and middle ear infections (otitis media). It can also have a significant impact on your daily activities. In one study, a third of adults with hay fever reported that their symptoms had a considerable negative impact on their work, home and social life.
It's very difficult to completely avoid pollen. However, reducing your exposure to the substances that trigger your hay fever should ease your symptoms. Rubbing a small amount of Vaseline (petroleum gel) inside your lower nostrils can help to prevent pollen from entering your nasal passages.
Lisa Miles, from Kent, tried several different treatments before she found the right one for her. She tells how she relieves her hay fever symptoms.