Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Hay fever self care

2-minute read

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

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Hay fever

Hay fever is the common name for a condition called allergic rhinitis, which means an allergy that affects the nose.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Asthma and hay fever - An Asthma Australia site

asthma and hay fever

Read more on Asthma Australia website

Hay fever in children and teenagers | Raising Children Network

Hay fever is an allergy. Hay fever symptoms include a runny nose, itchy eyes and sneezing. See a GP about your childs symptoms and hay fever treatment.

Read more on Raising Children Network website

Hay fever (allergic rhinitis)

Allergic rhinitis (hay fever) is an allergic reaction to pollens, dust mite, moulds and animal hair.

Read more on WA Health website

Kids' Health - Topics - Hay fever

Hay fever is an allergic reaction, which makes you feel miserable, and some people suffer it at the same time each year.

Read more on Women's and Children's Health Network website

Hay fever treatments - myDr.com.au

Antihistamines work fast and are good at treating mild symptoms of hay fever, such as sneezing and runny nose, whereas corticosteroid nasal sprays may take several days to work.

Read more on myDr website

Managing hay fever | NPS MedicineWise

Hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen and grasses. The symptoms include a blocked and itchy nose and sneezing. Taking time to plan the right treatment ...

Read more on NPS MedicineWise website

Hay fever | National Centre for Farmer Health

Hay fever is an allergic reaction to environmental allergens. It is very common and often occurs during spring. Read more...

Read more on National Centre for Farmer Health website

Allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and sinusitis - Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA)

Allergic rhinitis, hay fever, sinusitis, pollen

Read more on ASCIA – Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy website

Allergic rhinitis - hay fever - myDr.com.au

Rhinitis means inflammation of the lining of the nose. Allergic rhinitis means that this inflammation is caused by an allergy.

Read more on myDr website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo