More than 19 million Americans deal with hay fever every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Also known as allergies, or by its medical term, allergic rhinitis, hay fever tends to get worse in warmer months as pollen levels rise. Although there is no cure for hay fever, symptoms can be managed. Here are five ways to treat hay fever.
What is hay fever?
Hay fever is very common. Yet anyone who suffers from it knows that hay fever can make you miserable. With symptoms often mimicking those of a common cold, hay fever can last for weeks.
Hay fever is caused by exposure to an allergen. It frequently peaks in the spring and summer months when trees, grasses, molds, and fungi are blooming. Symptoms of hay fever arise as your immune system mistakes pollen and spores spread through the air as harmful.
In doing so, your body launches an immune response, which includes opening blood vessels wider, while also producing chemicals such as histamine.
Common Symptoms of Hay Fever
Symptoms and the severity of hay fever vary from person to person. Common symptoms include:
- Itchy/sore throat
- Itchy eyes
- Itchy nose
- Itchy skin
- Pressure or pain in your sinuses
- Runny nose
- Watery, red eyes
How to Treat Hay Fever at Home
To treat hay fever at home, you may try several things. When pollen levels are high, keep your windows closed in your home. Likewise, using an air purification system with a HEPA filter can help rid the air in your home of common allergens. To prevent the growth of mold in your home, you may also want to invest in a dehumidifier.
Over-the-counter medications may help alleviate symptoms. Some individuals dealing with hay fever may also notice a reduction in nasal congestion after rinsing the nasal passage with a squeeze bottle or neti pot.
How to treat hay fever with over the counter medications
There are many OTC medications that may help alleviate symptoms of hay fever. If your health care provider recommends an OTC medication to help with your allergies, request a prescription so that you can use an RxSaver discount card for savings on OTC medications.
Cetirizine (Generic Zyrtec)
Cetirizine is available over-the-counter. Cetrizine is the active ingredient in the brand drug Zyrtec. It is an antihistamine used to treat watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing, and itching.
Loratadine (Generic Claritin, Alavert)
Loratadine is available over the counter and may help reduce your hay fever symptoms. Loratadine is the generic form of Claritin and Alavert. It is an antihistamine medication. It reduces the severity of hay fever symptoms.
Olopatadine (Generic Pataday)
Olopatadine is an over-the-counter antihistamine eye drop. It is an eye drop that helps with itchy, red eyes caused by hay fever.
Fluticasone (Generic Flonase)
Flonase, and its generic fluticasone, are available over-the-counter. These corticosteroid nasal sprays can help to calm symptoms of hay fever such as congestion, runny nose, and sneezing. If you also experience watery and itchy eyes from hay fever, Flonase may also help relieve these symptoms.
Budesonide (Generic Rhinocort Allergy)
The active ingredient in Rhinocort Allergy Spray is budesonide, a corticosteroid. It works by reducing swelling, and irritation in your nose and sinuses.
Triamcinolone (Generic Nasacort Allergy)
Triamcinolone is the generic for Nasacort. It is an over-the-counter nasal spray. It is a corticosteroid medication that helps treat inflammation of the lining of your nose.
A variety of over-the-counter decongestant medications such as Sudafed may help with congestion caused by allergies. Many generic and brand-name decongestants can help relieve sinus pressure or a stuffy nose.
Common Medications Prescribed for Hay Fever
Your health care provider may prescribe medication to help ease your symptoms of hay fever. Commonly prescribed medications include antihistamines and corticosteroids.
Azelastine is generic for the brand drug Astepro. Azelastine is an antihistamine that helps reduce the symptoms of hay fever.
Cyproheptadine is a prescription antihistamine medication. It is prescribed to reduce allergy symptoms such as runny nose, itching, and watery eyes.
Hydroxyzine is an antihistamine medication available by prescription from your health care provider. It is generic for the brand drug Atarax.
Hydroxyzine pamoate is generic for the brand name drug Vistaril. It is an antihistamine. It helps to reduce symptoms of allergies including itching.
Mometasone furoate is generic Nasonex. It is a corticosteroid used to treat allergies by reducing swelling, irritation, and inflammation.
Talk with Your Doctor if Hay Fever Symptoms Worsen
Hay fever symptoms can make you feel lousy. If you’ve tried treating your allergies at home, to no avail, talk with your health care provider. Long-term effects of symptoms of hay fever can lead to sleep disruption, ear infections, eye infections, fatigue, and sinus infections. Your health care provider can help you to prevent infections, by helping you manage your hay fever.
Jen Hadley is a freelance writer and journalist based in Los Angeles, who writes extensively about the medical, legal, health care, and consumer products industries. Jen is a regular contributor to RxSaver.
Carina Fung, PharmD, BCPPS
Carina Fung, PharmD, BCPPS., is a pharmacist who earned her PharmD from St. John’s University in Queens, NY. She maintains an active practice, serving as a Board-Certified Pediatric Pharmacotherapy Specialist at a large metropolitan teaching hospital in New York City. Carina has also published in pharmacy journals and works as a consultant reviewing medical articles for publication.
The information on this site is generalized and is not medical advice. It is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of your healthcare professional. Always seek the advice of your healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard seeking advice or delay in seeking treatment because of something you have read on our site. RxSaver makes no warranty as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of this information.
If you are in crisis or you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.
12 Things to Know Before Your Holiday Travel During COVID-19
Traveling this holiday season? We're outlining what to consider when traveling by car or plane.
By Ilima Loomis
How To Find the Best Cold & Flu Medication Discounts
Don’t miss out on saving on prescription costs for your cold and flu medications this season. A coupon can help you save on these seasonal meds.
By RxSaver Editors
Risk Factors and Complications of the Flu
Learn more about common risks and complications associated with the flu.
By Jennifer Hadley