Hayfever is also known as allergic rhinitis. This is caused when your nose/eyes come in contact with environmental allergens, such as pollen, dustmite, animal dander and mould. Hay fever can occur all year round. 

Seasonal allergic rhinitis is usually in spring when airborne grass pollens are their peak. 

Perennial allergic rhinitis is when symptoms occur all year round - this is usually a reaction to an enviromental/occupational allergen. 

Those people that have allergies causing dermatitis or asthma are generally more likely to suffer from hayfever; but for everyone the answer to relieving hayfever is to minimise the exposure to whatever is causing the symptoms.


  • Congestion 
  • Runny/itchy nose
  • Sneezing
  • Watery/itchy eyes 
  • Post nasal drip may also occur (coughing can be present) 


  • Dust mites
  • Mould spores
  • Cockroaches
  • Dogs/Cats
  • Pollen 
  • Season, weather and/or pollution can also contribute

Treatment and Prevention 

Identifying the allergen is an integral part of managing your hay fever symptoms. The following products are available over-the-counter at your nearest chemist:

  • Oral Less Sedating Antihistamines
    Rapid relief of symptoms, but may not relieve nasal congestion.
    • Fexofenadine (Telfast) 
    • Cetirizine (Zyrtec) 
    • Loratidine (Claratyne)
    • Desloratidine (Desnonex, Aerius [discontinued]) 
  • Intranasal Corticosteroids
    More effective than intranasal and oral antihistamines. Effective for nose and eye related symptoms.
    Used for prevention and symptom relief (Symptoms improve within hours but may take up to 3-4 days for full effect) 
    • Mometasone (Nasonex)
    • Fluticasone (Flixonase)
    • Budesonide (Rhinocort)
    • Beclometasone (Flixonase) 
  • Intranasal Antihistamines 
    Rapid relief of symptoms, may not relief nasal congestion ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
    • Azelastine (Azep) 
  • Antihistamine Eye Drops
    ​​​​​​​Useful for itchy/watery/irritated eyes
    • ​​​​​​​Azelastine (Eyezep)
    • Ketotifen (Zaditen)
    • Levocabastine (Livostin) 

Talk to your community pharmacist about the right medicine to treat hayfever, and seek their advice about preventing as well as treating hayfever whether you suffer from this occasionally or every day.


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