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Hay fever symptoms

Hay fever symptoms vary in severity, and your symptoms may be worse some years than others. They may also start at different times of the year depending on which allergens you are allergic to. For example, your symptoms may occur in a particular season in response to grass, weed or tree pollens, or persist all year in response to house dust or animal hair.

The symptoms of hay fever include:

  • frequent sneezing
  • runny or blocked nose
  • itchy, red or watery eyes (also known as 'allergic conjunctivitis')
  • an itchy throat, mouth, nose and ears.

Less commonly, you may experience:

  • the loss of your sense of smell
  • facial pain (caused by blocked sinuses)
  • sweats
  • headaches
  • congested nose
  • snoring.

If you have asthma, your asthma symptoms may get worse when you have hay fever. Sometimes asthma symptoms only occur when you have hay fever. These include:

  • tight chest
  • shortness of breath
  • coughing
  • wheezing.

Some of the symptoms of hay fever may be similar to those caused by infections such as a cold or the flu, but allergy symptoms tend to persist unless they are treated properly.

Conditions that commonly occur alongside hay fever include sinusitis (inflammation of the sinuses), otitis media (middle ear inflammation), decreased quality of sleep and allergic conjunctivitis (the clear layer of tissue lining the eyelids and covering the white of the eye becomes swollen or inflamed due to a reaction to an allergen).

The correct drugs and treatments can be effective in reducing your symptoms. You should seek advice from your doctor or a pharmacist about which medicines or treatments will relieve your particular symptoms based on their severity.

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 2015

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