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Constant sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, itchy throat and ears – sounds a lot like hayfever.  Hayfever, or seasonal allergic rhinitis, is a term used to describe a group of symptoms that you get when you are allergic to a plant material known as pollen.  Occasionally, some people may suffer hay fever due to exposure to dust or animal dander.  The things that cause hayfever are called allergens.


When your body is exposed to an allergen your immune system produces a chemical caused histamine.  It is this chemical, histamine, that causes the symptoms of hay fever.  Around 20 people in every 100 people are believed to suffer from hay fever.   Hayfever tends to be more common if there is a family history of allergic reactions, asthma and eczema.  Because the main culprit is pollen, hay fever symptoms are usually at their worst from late Spring right through until the end of the Summer.

Relief from hayfever

Fortunately, help is at hand.  Here at Fortune’s Pharmacy we can provide all the things you need to get you through the season.  There are a wide range of medicines we can supply you without prescription.  We usually recommend an antihistamine.  Medicines in this group of drugs block histamine, the chemical that causes your symptoms.  Thankfully, the modern anthistamines such as Cetirizine cause few side effects and only need to be taken once daily.  Cetirizine can also be taken by children. In addition, we have a range of non-prescription eye drops and nasal sprays.  Cetirizine is available in Cetrine Allergy tablets and is available without prescription.

Other Measures

  • Know your own hayfever.  We recommend keeping a diary of symptoms.  It can be useful to know the time of year when your hayfever is at its worst.  Different pollens are in circulation at different times of the year.  The main grass pollen time is from mid May to mid July.
  • Take recommended medicines as directed. We recommend that you start steroid nasal sprays about 2 weeks before your particular hayfever season begins.
  • Pollen levels are highest during mid morning and late afternoon.  You may consider staying indoors and keeping doors and windows closed at these times.
  • Smear a little vaseline inside each nostril.   This helps to trap pollen before it gets up into the nose.
  • Wearing wrap-around sunglasses (we stock the Foster Grant range).
  • Check out the daily pollen forecast from Met Eireann here.

What if these measures don’t work?

If your symptoms cannot be controlled using over the counter medicines,or are particularly severe, we will refer you to your General Practitioner (GP).  There are a number of other medicines which your GP can prescribe for more severe cases.  Occasionally, referral to a consultant doctor known as an immunologist may be required.