From the itchy eyes to the runny nose, hay fever sufferers will do just about anything to alleviate their symptoms. 

From late March to mid-September, Brits anxiously study the pollen counts to judge whether they'll comfortably be able to enjoy the outdoors or if they'll need to reach for an antihistamine. 

What is hay fever? 

Commonly known as hay fever, Allergic rhinitis is an allergic reaction to pollen.

Pollen is a fine powder which is produced by flowers, plants, weeds, and trees.

From March to mid-May roughly 25% of people are affected by tree pollen, according to the Met Office.

Meanwhile, grass pollen season has two peaks during the year around the first two weeks in June and then again in the first two weeks of July.

This is followed by weed pollen season which spans the summer, starting in June and continuing into September. 

With around 49% reporting that they suffer from hay fever symptoms in recent research (Allergy UK / Kleenex®, 2020), how can they get through the day?

How to prevent hay fever symptoms

Hay fever sufferers can take some proactive steps to help prevent them from developing symptoms. 

For instance, the National Health Service recommends showering and changing your clothes after you have been outside in order to wash the pollen off.

We can also keep windows and doors shut as much as possible as well as regularly vacuuming and dusting surfaces with a damp cloth.

We should also avoid cutting or walking on the grass and not drying our clothes outside.

You can see the full list of do's and don'ts via the NHS website.

The NHS also signposts sufferers to their pharmacist who can suggest the best treatments based on their symptoms.

For instance, they may recommend antihistamine tablets, drops or nasal sprays.

You can see the full list of do's and don'ts when dealing with hay fever via the NHS website. ( Getty Images)You can see the full list of do's and don'ts when dealing with hay fever via the NHS website. ( Getty Images) (Image: Getty Images)

How many hay fever tablets can you take?

There are two main types of anti-histamine including an older kind that can make you feel a little dizzy.

These medications include chlorphenamine, hydroxyzine, and promethazine.

There is also a newer kind which are non-drowsy which includes the likes of cetirizine, loratadine, and fexofenadine – which are non-drowsy.

When it comes to how many tablets you can take, you should always pay particular attention to the instructions on the packet.

Your maximum daily amount may also vary depending on your age, size, and whether you’re taking any medications.

For many over-the-counter types of antihistamines, the maximum will be three tablets per day.

For instance, it's typical to take the likes of Cetirizine and fexofenadine once a day with children aged under 12 being able to take it twice a day.

It is possible to overdose on antihistamine medication which can cause tremors, palpitations, seizures, and hallucinations in serious cases.

If you think you have taken too many, you should consult a medical professional even if you feel fine.

Recommended reading

When to see a GP about your hay fever

If your symptoms worsen or do not improve after trying treatments from the pharmacy, you may need to visit the GP.

Your GP may prescribe you a steroid treatment or immunotherapy if that doesn't work.