How to get rid of hay fever – quick relief and tricks you can try

As Britain makes the most of the warmer weather (finally), for some the summer fun could be dampened by itchy eyes and runny noses.

The Met Office has warned of a ‘high’ or ‘very high’ pollen count in London and the south, the Midlands, Wales, Yorkshire and Northern Ireland.

Around 18 million people in the UK suffer from hay fever, with more developing it every year. You can develop it at any age, even if you’ve never previously shown signs of it.

The symptoms include runny eyes and nose, sneezing, itchiness, feeling run down and bunged up, and can be easily mistaken for a common cold. However, if you have itchy eyes, nose or throat, it’s more likely to be hay fever.

Find out the pollen forecast in your area on the Weather Channel.

To make sure the pollen doesn’t ruin your weekend of warm weather, here are our tips on how to get rid of hayfever…

1. Hot, hot curry

Going for the hottest curry on the menu can help – or if you’re making your own, go heavy on the spices. Turmeric, an orange-yellow spice widely used in curries and South Asian cuisine, is believed to reduce inflammation caused by the enzyme phospholipase A2, which is provoked into action by pollen in your system. Capsaicin, in chillies, helps open up the nasal passages and relieve that bunged up feeling.

2. Hanky panky

Yay – sex can help your hay fever. At the point of orgasm the sympathetic nervous system constricts blood vessels across the body and an Iranian neurologist has suggested that this could help with hay fever. Has to be worth a shot, no? Just don’t try it if you have a sudden attack in the park.

3. The right salads

Capers, red onions and watercress contain high amounts of the natural anti-histamine quercetin, which can help reduce hay fever symptoms by blocking the effects of histamines. Combine with pineapple, which contains bromelain, which helps the body to absorb quercetin.

Apples, tomatoes and oranges are rich in beta carotene, vitamin C and a substance called bioflavonoids. These nutrients are anti-inflammatory agents and are said to boost the immune system.

4. Red grapes

Dark coloured berries like currants, blackberries and red grapes all contain high levels of antioxidants, but red grape skin also boasts resveratrol, which reduces inflammation in the body. According to a study into diet and allergy in Crete, grapes were helpful in reducing blocked, itchy and runny noses from hayfever.

5. Stinging nettles

Nettles have long been thought to relieve allergy symptoms, including hay fever. You can buy them as pills, but as long as you have a decent pair of gardening gloves, it’s cheaper just to pick your own and make them into tea. Just boil them in water, then drain and add honey to sweeten.*

6. Fish

Omega 3 fatty acids in oily fish are anti-inflammatory, which could help ease your symptoms. Salmon, herring, mackerel, tuna and sardines are all good sources. Experts recommend three portions a week.

7. Shampoo

Pollen is sticky so if you’ve been out all day (especially if you’ve been suffering) you could be bringing back the yellow poison to the house with you. It’s best to wash your hair when you get home for the evening, so you don’t spread pollen around your house.

8. Chamomile tea

Coffee can exacerbate your symptoms, so swap it out for chamomile tea, which is a natural antihistamine and anti-inflammatory. Drinking it is the best option, but if you don’t like the taste, you can just use the tea bags, soaked in boiling water then drained and chilled, straight on your eyes.

9. Clean sheets

Spending a night in a bed infected with pollen means you wake up up feeling rough (assuming you actually get to sleep). So doing a bedsheets wash as often as possible over the summer will help ease symptoms and let you sleep better.

10. Barrier balm

One of the best ways to stop hayfever is by not inhaling pollen. Easy, right? But rather than not breathing, we recommend HayMax – a simple organic drug-free allergen barrier balm. Apply it around your nostrils and the pollen sticks to the balm instead of going up your nose.

11. Throat and nasal sprays

Otrivine Allergy Relief 0.1% Nasal Spray . Newly launched it provides relief from a blocked itchy nose in minutes for up to ten hours. This can be purchased from the following websites –

  • Boots Otrivine
  • Amazon Otrivine Allergy Relief

Prevalin . It’s free from antihistamine and steroids, meaning it’s OK for pregnant and breastfeeding women. "It lines the inside of the nose and creates a barrier blocking irritants. Plus it soothes the symptoms of histamine," says Alison.

  • Prevalin Boots
  • Prevalin Amazon
  • Prevalin Superdrug

Prevalin Allergy for Kids (£4.49 from pharmacies). This product is sprayed up the nostril and a gel is formed to prevent pollen entering the airways.

  • Boots Prevalin for kids
  • Amazon Prevalin for Kids
  • Sainsburys Prevalin for Kids

Ultra Chloraseptic Anaesthetic Throat Spray . It contains Benxocaine which numbs a sore throat in seconds and comes in three flavours – cherry, blackcurrant and menthol.

  • Ultra Chloraseptic Throat Spray at Boots
  • Ultra Chloraseptic Throat Spray at Amazon

DISCLAIMER: This article is not intended as medical advice. Always consult your GP.

*Nettle tea is not suitable for pregnant women

12. Seaside trips

Where you live can affect how you suffer. While the countryside has more wildlife to kick-start symptoms, environmental pollutants in cities can worsen them.

Exhausts, toxic tar and even the ozone can irritate your body, leaving lungs, sinuses and air passages primed to react to the pollen you are allergic to.

A great way to avoid this is to get yourself to the beach. Pollen levels are lower by the sea.

13. Ditch the booze

Warmer weather can increase your visits to beer gardens and boozy barbecues.

But alcohol is loaded with histamine, which is known to cause an inflammatory response and worsen seasonal allergies.

Even drinking more than one glass a day can cause problems for sufferers, with wine being a particular irritant.

Did you know?

It’s not actually pollen that causes all those miserable symptoms – they actually come from you. Histamine is produced by your body when it thinks the immune system is under attack.

When pollen enters the body of a hay fever sufferer, it triggers the production of histamine, which then creates all those unwanted symptoms. That’s why anti-histamines can help. (But histamines are the things in the brain which keep us alert, attentive and awake, which is why anti-histamines can make you drowsy).

Here’s the best ways to help you have a sniff-free summer.

Latest news

If you thought that it’s hay fever causing you untold misery day and night at the moment, you may be wrong.

Hay fever sufferers are being hit by ‘thunder fever’. An affliction which is said to happen when rain brings pollen back down to earth "in bucket loads".

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