Hayfever season is here

The pollen count is creeping up, leaving us reaching for the tissues.

Pharmacists across Gloucestershire are gearing themselves up for the start of the hayfever season.

 Up to 1-in-4 people in the county are likely to suffer to some extent between now and the end of the pollen season.

Allergy UK says the exceptionally cold winter has altered the Birch Tree pollen season - which is now being triggered
by this week's warm weather.

Some 141,000 people in Gloucestershire will suffer sneezing, running noses and/or itchy eyes.

The NHS in the county say depending on which pollens or spores people are allergic to, you coud experience symptoms at different times of the year.

All this happens when the body's immune system overreacts to a normally harmless substance, in this case pollen.

When the body comes into contact with pollen, cells in the lining of the nose, mouth and eyes release a chemical
called histamine. This triggers the symptoms of an allergic reaction.

There are a number of treatments available to relieve the symptoms.

These include antihistamine tablets, nasal (nose) sprays and eye drops.

Some can only be prescribed by a GP, but many are available over-the-counter in pharmacies.

John Robinson from the Spa Pharmacy in Cheltenham says "pregnant women, or women who are planning their pregnancy should be extra careful over which treatment they take.  Always consult a GP or pharmacist before taking any tablets for hay-fever"

Spray or Tablet treatment?
Both work very well

For antihistamine nose sprays - you should begin to feel relief between 2-15 minutes. They are often used for milder  hay fever nasal symptoms. Nose sprays, in general, are not as effective as tablets for targeting a wide range of hay fever symptoms.

Antihistamine tablets work well to ease most hay fever symptoms but can take longer to "kick-in" and may not help those who are being troubled with nasal symptoms in particular.

Some side effects depend on how often you take the treatment, when and which type. Beware of:

* Drowsiness (Non-drowsy tablets are readily available)
* Dizziness
* Dry mouth (especially if you take treatment later in the day or at night)
* Headache
* Constipation

 Always speak to your pharmacist or GP before trying treatment you are unsure of. Always read the label.

Click here for advice on dealing with hayfever.