Brands for hayfever


Hayfever can develop at any age; however, it usually starts in childhood or as a teenager. If you have hayfever and you come into contact with any allergens which include pollen, house dust mites, mould spores or pet dander, your immune system may react and release a chemical called histamine which causes symptoms. 

Common hayfever symptoms may include:

- Coughing – this is caused by a postnasal drip (mucus dripping down the throat from the nose)

- Sneezing

- A blocked or runny nose

- Itchy, watery or red eyes

- Itchy ears, mouth, throat and nose

- Having a loss of smell

- Pain around your forehead and temples

- Having a headache and or earache

- Feeling tired – uncontrolled hayfever can disrupt your sleep and concentration

Some less common symptoms that people experience are:

• A loss of their sense of smell (this is called anosmia)

• Aches and pain in their face which is caused by blocked sinuses

People with hayfever and asthma might also have the following symptoms:
• A tight feeling in their chest

• Feeling short of breath

• Wheezing and coughing

People with a family history of allergies like asthma or eczema are more likely to develop hayfever. Having hayfever can also make your asthma symptoms worse. If this happens to you, make sure to speak to your GP – especially if your asthma treatments aren’t helping with your symptoms. 

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Hayfever typically happens when allergens like pollen come into contact with your mouth, nose, eyes and throat.

Pollen is a powder that’s released by plants to help them reproduce. It contains proteins that when inhaled or blinked in, can irritate the nose, eyes and throat. 

You can have an allergy to different types of pollen, including:

• Tree pollen (this is normally released in spring)

• Grass pollen (this is normally released during the end of spring and the start of summer)

• Weed pollen (this is normally released in late autumn)

Different types of pollen can affect different people at different times of the year. Take a look at our summer allergy calendar to see what pollen could be causing your symptoms. 

Tree pollen

Tree pollen season is in full swing, with birch, ash and oak at their pollen-releasing peak

Weed pollen

Mugwort pollen tends to peak in the first week of August, with the grass pollen season tapering off now. There can be an increase in mould spores as a result of harvesting.

Grass pollen

Now is typically the beginning of grass pollen season, along with dock and oil seed rape.

Oil seed rape season comes to an end, while grass pollen continues its peak. Mugwort pollen season also starts.

Grass and nettle pollens peak now. Grass pollen is the most common trigger of hayfever, so check the pollen count regularly. 

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Hayfever relief products & treatments

Although there isn’t currently a cure for hayfever, most people’s symptoms can be eased with treatments that help to reduce the effect of histamine in the body. If you aren’t sure on what hayfever treatments are suitable for you, speak to a pharmacist and they can advise you.

Tackle allergy season head on

Allevia: for long lasting results

Helps relieve symptoms associated with hayfever including:

- Sneezing

- Itchy, runny, blocked nose

- Itchy, watery, and red eyes

Allevia starts to relieve your symptoms within 1 hour and lasts for 24 hours

Always read the label

Suitable for: Adults and children aged 12 and over.

Active ingredients: Fexofenadine

Beconase: to reduce inflammation & swelling in the nose

Helps relieve symptoms associated with hayfever including:

- Nasal congestion

- Watery eyes

- Runny nose

- Sneezing

- Itchy eyes

- Sinus discomfort

Use regularly

Always read the label

Suitable for: Adults aged 18 years and over

Active ingredients: Beclometasone

Piriton: for mould spore allergies

Helps relieve symptoms associated with mould spore allergies including:

- Hayfever

- Skin allergies

- Food allergies

- Pet allergies

- House dust mite allergies

- Insect bites

Suitable for: Adults and children aged 6 years and over

Active ingredients: Chlorphenamine Maleate 4mg

Piriteze: for children

Helps relieve symptoms associated with hayfever including:

- Sneezing

- Runny and itchy nose

- Eye irritation

- Pet and dust allergies

Can also treat raised, red itchy skin

Always read the label before use

Suitable for: Adults and children aged 6 years and over

Contains Cetirizine Hydrochloride


Antihistamines can be used to help manage mild hay fever symptoms by helping to prevent an allergic response. Antihistamines can be bought over-the-counter as liquids and tablets and there are different types available for both adults and children.

It’s important to read the label on any antihistamines you take. If you feel drowsy after taking antihistamines, make sure to avoid driving or using any machines.

Steroid nasal sprays 

Steroid nasal sprays can be used to help with symptoms like sneezing or a blocked, stuffy or runny nose. They work by helping to reduce inflammation, however, they’re only suitable for people who are over 18.

Steroid nasal sprays have to be taken regularly and, in some cases, it can take up to a week before you notice an improvement in your symptoms. Some steroid nasal sprays are available over-the-counter, so if you’re unsure on what to use, make sure to speak to a pharmacist.


Decongestant nasal sprays can help if you have a blocked nose. They’re usually fast-acting but they should only be used for the short term.

You can also buy decongestants as tablets, but they aren’t always compatible with other health conditions. If you have high blood pressure or diabetes, you should avoid taking decongestant tablets. If you aren’t sure if they’re suitable for you, make sure to speak to a pharmacist.

Eye Drops

If you have itchy eyes, eye drops can help. There are hay fever relief eye drops available that have been formulated to help ease itching, soreness, watering and redness. These normally contain an ingredient called sodium cromoglicate. For eye drops to be effective, you need to use them regularly. If your symptoms aren’t improving, make sure to speak to a GP or pharmacist. 

If your symptoms get worse or don’t improve after trying to treat it, you’ll need to speak to your GP.

Your GP might prescribe a steroid treatment or refer you for immunotherapy if other treatments don’t work. 

You can also try the Boots Online Doctor Hayfever Treatment Service2 if you suffer from hay fever or have a year-round allergy. You can access advice and treatment to help relieve your symptoms. 

How to manage & treat hayfever

Hayfever made simple


•Put a barrier balm like Vaseline around your nostrils to help trap pollen

•Wear wraparound sunglasses to help stop pollen from getting into your eyes
•Shower and change your clothes after you’ve been outside to help wash the pollen off
•Stay inside when possible

•Keep any windows and doors closed as much as possible
•Vacuum regularly and dust with a damp cloth
•Use a pollen filter for any air vents in your car and use a vacuum cleaner with a high-efficiency particulate absorbing (HEPA) filter
•Try to stay at home if you have a high temperature or don’t feel well enough to do your normal activities


•Cut grass or walk on grass
•Spend too much time outside
•Keep fresh flowers in your house
•Smoke or be around smoke
•Dry your clothes outside (they can catch pollen)
•Allow pets into the house (they can carry pollen inside)

Most hayfever medicines aren’t suitable for use if you’re pregnant. It’s important to try preventative measures to manage your symptoms. You can learn more about these in the ‘preventing hayfever’ section of the page.

We’ve also put together a handy guide for managing hayfever in pregnancy.

Babies and children can also develop hayfever. Their symptoms can be like adults, but sometimes their symptoms can be missed as they are similar to many viral infections. It can also be difficult to know if your baby or child has hayfever, as if they can’t speak, they’ll be unable to let you know what they are feeling. 

The most effective treatments for most people (including babies and children) with hayfever are antihistamines. Not all antihistamines are suitable for younger children, so it’s important to speak to your pharmacist for advice if you aren’t sure. 

Take a look at our article on hayfever in babies and children to learn more.

Expert tips to stop the sneeze

Breeze through allergy season with Boots

While hayfever symptoms can affect your day-to-day life (particularly when pollen counts are high), help is at hand. Whether that’s finding ways to limit your exposure to pollen or considering over-the-counter medicines for hayfever, pop into your local Boots to chat through the options with a pharmacist.

Sneeze season is upon us

Frequently asked questions

You might have hayfever if you have some or all the symptoms mentioned in the ‘symptoms of hayfever’ section of the page. If you have these symptoms at specific times of the year and they happen annually, it’s possible that you have hayfever.

There is no ‘best’ treatment for hayfever, as people can react differently to different treatments. However, the most effective way to control hayfever is to avoid pollen. You can learn more about this in the ‘preventing hayfever’ section of the page. Also, speak to your pharmacy team for advice and treatment most suitable for you.

Hayfever and the common cold share many symptoms like having a runny nose and sneezing. A cold can include having a sore throat, or a fever (in severe cases), whereas hayfever usually involves itchy or watery eyes.

Their duration also differs. A cold usually lasts one to two weeks, but hayfever can last for weeks or months depending on how high the pollen count is. The higher the pollen count, the worse your symptoms can be. 

If you take antihistamines for your hayfever and you know when your symptoms usually start, it’s a good idea to start taking them two to four weeks before this for optimum protection. You can continue to take antihistamines while the pollen count is high.

If you use a nasal spray and you know when your symptoms usually start, try to use them one to two weeks before for optimum protection. 

If steroids and other hayfever treatments don’t work for you, your GP might refer you for immunotherapy – a specialist service that might not be available everywhere.

During immunotherapy, you’ll be given small amounts of pollen as either an injection or tablet to help build your immunity to pollen. This treatment normally starts in the winter (about three months before the pollen count begins to rise). 

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2Treatment is subject to an online consultation with a clinician to assess suitability. Subject to availability. Charges apply. To use Boots Online Doctor, you must be registered with boots.com/onlinedoctor and logged in when placing your order. Simply enter the promotional code ALLERGY20 at the checkout to redeem this offer. This offer is exclusive for Boots Online Doctor Hayfever Treatment Service and cannot be used in-store or on boots.com. Offer can only be redeemed online. This promotion code is single use only. One promotion code per transaction. Valid until Tuesday 21 May 2024. Channel Island exclusions apply.

12Please note, free home postal delivery is only available to patients registered with a GP in England. However, the option to collect in-store is available for all customers registered with a participating GP anywhere in the UK. For patients registered with a participating GP surgery only. NHS Prescriptions charges may apply.

32Supply of treatment is subject to a suitability assessment. In most stores in England only. Subject to availability and store opening hours. Charges may apply.

Page last reviewed by Boots Pharmacy team on 16/05/2024

Get relief from allergies this season with Boots! Our expert advice and top-quality products will help you stay on top of your allergies and feel energised. Explore our products and tips to keep allergens at bay and enjoy the season to the fullest.