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Antihistamines

Antihistamines are the most commonly used medicines for hay fever and allergic rhinitis. There are different types available from pharmacies and general retailers without prescription.

Antihistamines work by blocking the action of the chemical histamine, which is released by the body in the hay fever allergic reaction.

Antihistamines have been around for many years and new types are being developed all the time. Some people find that antihistamines make them drowsy. If you’re affected in this way you may find it helpful to talk to a pharmacist about the different types available – an alternative active ingredient might be more suitable for you.

Antihistamines can be taken in tablet or capsule form and there are also antihistamine eye drops and nasal sprays.

Eye drops

Eye drops are readily available from pharmacies and other retailers and can be helpful to relieve red, itchy eyes

Corticosteroid nasal sprays and drops

Available only on prescription, talk to your GP if you are finding it difficult to manage your symptoms with other remedies. These steroid treatments are most effective if you start taking them a couple of weeks before symptoms start.