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Hay fever self care

If you have hay fever, you can help manage the condition in a number of different ways:

  • identify the cause of the allergy and then avoiding further contact with it
  • wash your hands, then bathe your eyes with cold water if they are itchy or sore
  • avoid smoking or breathing in other people’s smoke, as it can make symptoms worse – for advice on quitting smoking, visit the Quit Now website
  • avoid going outdoors on days with high pollen counts (particularly before noon), on windy days or after thunderstorms
  • keep windows and doors shut when the pollen count is high
  • keep car windows closed and consider buying a pollen filter for the air vents
  • if your symptoms are triggered by grass, avoid grassy areas and don’t cut grass
  • avoid fresh flowers if that’s the cause of your symptoms
  • when outdoors, wear wrap-around sunglasses to stop pollen getting in your eyes
  • if your hay fever is really bad, wear a face mask when outdoors
  • change clothes and shower after being outdoors to wash off pollen
  • dry bed linen indoors during the pollen season.

There are medicines to ease hay fever symptoms. Some of them are only suitable for adults. You should ask a pharmacist for advice before buying any hay fever medicines for yourself or for a child.

Always follow the manufacturer's instructions when taking or giving any medicines, and if you are pregnant you should discuss the risks and benefits with a pharmacist before taking any medicines.

Common, over-the-counter hay fever medicines include:

  • antihistamines may ease mild symptoms
  • a steroid nasal spray may ease a blocked or runny nose
  • eye drops may help relieve itchy or watery eyes.

Not sure what to do next?

If you are still concerned about your hay fever, check your symptoms with healthdirect’s online Symptom Checker to get advice on when to seek medical attention.

The Symptom Checker guides you to the next appropriate healthcare steps, whether it’s self care, talking to a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero (000).

Last reviewed: July 2017

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