Hay fever: Commonly used treatment options

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Hay fever can be managed in various ways. There are various treatment options such as over-the-counter medications particularly antihistamines.

It is best to set an appointment with a doctor if the symptoms do not seem to improve after antihistamines are used. In such cases, prescription medications such as a nasal steroid medication is required.

Commonly used treatment options for hay fever


Antihistamines are generally effective in managing the itchiness, watery eyes and sneezing.

These medications work by blocking the action of histamine which is a chemical that is released if the body is under attack by an allergen. It stops the symptoms of an allergic reaction.

Antihistamines are generally effective in managing the itchiness, watery eyes and sneezing. They are available in tablet form as well as nasal sprays and eye drops.

Corticosteroid nasal drops and sprays

Corticosteroids are given to manage hay fever due to their anti-inflammatory effect. These drugs work by lessening the inflammation and prevent the symptoms of hay fever.

The nasal sprays or drops are given if the individual has a persistent case that does not respond to antihistamines, a blocked nose is the main symptom or if breastfeeding and pregnant.

Corticosteroid tablets

If rapid relief from severe symptoms is needed, the doctor might prescribe a course of corticosteroid tablets for 5-7 days.

Nasal decongestants

Since hay fever can trigger a blocked nose, a decongestant as a nasal spray can be used. These drugs work by reducing the swelling of the nasal blood vessels which opens the nasal passages and allows easier breathing.

Eye drops

These are available to treat the hay fever symptoms that affect the eyes such as itchiness, redness and watering. These drops include antihistamine to lessen the inflammation in the eyes to relieve the symptoms.


If the individual has persistent hay fever symptoms that could not be relieved by the stated measures, the doctor might suggest immunotherapy. This involves gradual introduction to small amounts of the allergen and monitoring for a reaction in a controlled environment.

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