Hay Fever Season | Test Your Intolerance

Hay fever (or allergic rhinitis) is a condition that results in cold-like symptoms. Hay fever is a prevalent issue; in England alone, it affects over 10 million people{1}. Even though you can have hay fever at any age, it often develops during childhood and adolescence. It is also common for boys to suffer hay fever compared to girls. However, in adults, both genders are equally affected. Unlike a cold, hay fever isn’t a result of a virus but rather an allergic response to indoor and outdoor substances in the air that are otherwise harmless to other people. These include animal dander, dust mites, dust particles, mould, and pollen. Besides the misery that hay fever can cause, it can also profoundly affect your performance at work or school. Therefore, it is better to understand the cause and how to manage it so you can live without the annoying symptoms.


Hay fever symptoms

Common hay fever symptoms include:

  • Watery, itchy, red eyes (allergic conjunctivitis)
  • Mucus running down the back of your throat
  • Sneezing
  • Cough
  • Runny nose and nasal stuffiness (congestion)
  • Extreme tiredness (fatigue), often due to poor sleep
  • Itchy nose, the roof of mouth or throat
  • Swollen, bruised-appearing skin under the eyes (allergic shiners)

Many people find that their symptoms improve as they get older. Around half the number of people with hay fever experience improved symptoms after several years, and approximately 10%-20% of people lose the symptoms entirely{1}.


Hay fever triggers

Even though hay fever can happen all year round, certain substances can worsen it at a particular time of the year. Hay fever triggers include:

  • Grass pollen which peaks in late spring and summer
  • Tree pollen which peaks in early spring
  • Ragweed pollen which is most common in fall
  • Animal dander can be bothersome all year round, but it worsens during the winter because you’ll spend more time indoors locked up with your pets and animals like dogs grow a winter coat to keep them warm, making it worse. Animal dander is mostly from skin flakes after the animal has groomed itself, saliva, and urine. Only small amounts of it are present in animal fur.
  • Dust mites and cockroach droppings are present all year round.
  • Fungi and moulds produce spores, which can be bothersome to those who are allergic. These can be found indoors and outdoors, which can be both seasonal and year-round.


Hay fever seasons

Seasonal hay fever symptoms occur in spring, summer, and early fall. These are often caused by an allergy to mould spores or pollen from weeds, trees, and grass. While some suffer from seasonal hay fever, others have perennial allergic rhinitis. Pepe, with perennial allergic rhinitis, suffers all year round from hay fever symptoms. Dust mites cause perennial hay fever, mould, let dander, cockroach droppings, and dust particles. It isn’t a cause for perennial nasal symptoms if you have underlying food allergies.

Even though there is perennial and seasonal hay fever, some individuals suffer from both. Perennial symptoms get worse during specific pollen seasons. There is also particular cause for allergic rhinitis that don’t fall in both categories and are non-allergic, like perfumes, cigarette and other smoke, cleaning products, and strong doors.


Hay fever treatment

Even though hay fever can be so bothersome, there is currently no cure. However, they are medications that can help you relieve your symptoms to a certain extent. The most effective way to treat hay fever is by avoiding the allergens that trigger your immune system. However, this can be impossible when you don’t know your specific triggers, so we recommend you take an Allergy Test to help you nail down your triggers. Even though it can be easy to get away from indoor triggers during pollen season, it can be a bit difficult to avoid contact, and it’s better to stay indoors and work from home.

You can manage hay fever symptoms by:

  • Keep the windows of your car and house closed, and only use air conditioning in your home car when it’s pollen season.
  • Use mite-proof bedding and pillow covers to limit exposure to dust mites. You can also use a dehumidifier in your home during cold months to prevent mould growth.
  • Wear glasses when outdoors to keep pollen from entering your eyes.
  • Always clean your hands after touching your pets. Have someone else groom your pets outside or in a well-ventilated area.
  • Don’t hang clothes outside to dry during pollen season as they may cling to your garments, causing you to have hay fever symptoms.
  • Try not to rub your eyes when they’re irritated, as this may cause them to be worse.
  • Try not to use window fans as they may draw pollen and mould into your house, causing you to react.

When suffering from hay fever symptoms, certain medications can help relieve them. These include:

  • Intranasal corticosteroids reduce nasal congestion, sneezing, itching and a runny nose.
  • Antihistamines can be found in eye drops, nasal sprays and, most commonly, oral tablets and syrup. They help relieve sneezing, itchy and runny nose, eye itchiness, wateriness and redness, itchy skin, eczema, and hives.


Hay fever testing

Our Allergy Test Box Kit

Allergic rhinitis isn’t easy to live with, especially if you don’t know your triggers. Ordering an Allergy Test can help you figure out the specific allergen your immune system is against, and this will help you find easier ways to avoid your triggers. By taking that test, you’ll send your same back to the lab, where it will be tested against various allergens to see which ones react to it. You’ll then get a detailed email with your results showing you your triggers. This information will be life-changing as you’ll get to know your triggers and be more vigilant, so it doesn’t affect your day-to-day life.


  1. Hay fever (2022). (https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/immune-system/hay-fever)