A very specific brand of over-the-counter hay fever medicine is quickly becoming one of the most popular hay fever treatment medicine available, and is being hailed as one of the best allergy meds to use during hay fever season.
Several videos online have gone viral due to the discovery of Allevia allergy tablets, a cheap alternative to other hay fever treatment that is available via My Pharmacy for as cheap as £3.29.
Allevia tablets claim to provide relief for 24 hours, and contains the active ingredient fexofenadine hydrochloride, a non-drowsy antihistamine. They where only available on prescription until recently, when the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare regulatory body re-classified them to general sales status. This means they can be bought over-the-counter from retail outlets such as corner shops and supermarkets.
Posting online, users of allevia tablets have said that their symptoms have disappeared completely when using them. This shouldn’t come as a shock though, as allevia allergy tablets contain the active ingredient fexofenadine hydrochloride.
Fexofenadine has been widely available for a long time with two strengths, 120mg and 180mg. However, because of its recent re-classification, allevia tablets are 120mg strength and can be purchased over-the-counter. By being so widely available, users have taken to social media and expressed their relief at how well they work. It’s become so popular that even here, at My Pharmacy, we are struggling to find stock from wholesalers. Whilst massive retailers such as Asda, Tesco and Boots also struggle.
So, what is hay fever?
Hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis, produces cold-like symptoms, such as itchy eyes, congestion, sneezing and runny nose. But unlike a cold, hay fever isn’t caused by a virus. Hay fever is an allergic response to allergens from outdoors and indoors, such as pollen, dust mites and pet dander.
People who suffer from hay fever will typically be worse during hay fever season. In the UK this is the period of time between March and September, when the weather is warm, humid and windy.
It can have a serious effect on your quality of life, affecting performance at work or school. But thanks to modern medicine, you’ll no longer have to put up with the annoying symptoms of hay fever.
What is hay fever like in babies? It is often not seen in babies or toddlers, but the appearance should be the exact same. It can be slightly harder to identify due to it mimicking the common cold. Babies and children should have hay fever identified as soon as possible, as the symptoms can increase the risk of an asthma attack.
What are the symptoms of hay fever?
Symptoms of hay fever can mimic those of other conditions such as the common cold. One of the best ways to identify if you’re suffering from a cold or hay fever is to look at the colour of your nasal discharge.
A cold is more likely to cause your snot (nasal discharge) to be yellow/green, whereas hay fever is likely to produce clear, transparent discharge. Itchy eyes are also generally only associated with hay fever and is never typically a cold symptom.
Symptoms of hay fever allergies may include:
- Sneezing and coughing
- A runny or blocked nose
- Itchy, red or watery eyes
- Itchy throat, mouth, nose and ears
- Loss of smell
- Pain around the temples and forehead
- Headache and earache
- Feeling tired
If you feel like you can’t differentiate between what are the symptoms of hay fever and what are the symptoms of the common cold, speak to a doctor or pharmacist. They’ll be able to guide you through the process of identifying and diagnosing what are the symptoms of hay fever correctly.
How to get rid of hay fever
Whilst using an antihistamine like Allevia pharmacy tablets is a great way to keep hay fever allergies at bay, there are other things you can do to help yourself lower the chances of experiencing them.
- Be prepared. Check the pollen count for the day using a forecast for your area and be prepared. Newspapers and TV stations also contribute to pollen count forecasts during the hay fever season.
- Whilst it can be difficult, try and keep indoors during the summer, or at least try to during high pollen count forecasts. Avoid freshly cut grass and keep the windows of your car closed if you’re driving anywhere.
- Always carry some Allevia pharmacy tablets or other antihistamines with you just in case your allergies suddenly flare up.
So, you know how to get rid of hay fever, but how exactly does it happen? As can be concluded from the name antihistamines, Allevia and others like it block the effects of a substance called histamine.
Histamine is a chemical naturally created by the body in response to detection of something harmful, such as an infection. When histamine is released, the blood vessels expand and the skin swells, helping protect the body.
But it’s different when it comes to allergies. Mistaking harmless pollen, animal hair or house dust as a threat, the body responds exactly as it would to an actual threat and produces histamine. The histamine causes an allergic reaction, causing symptoms such as itchy, watering eyes, a running or blocked nose, sneezing and skin rashes.
Antihistamines help stop this from happening, either by taking them before coming into contact with an allergen or by taking it after coming into contact, and reducing the severity of symptoms.
What happens if antihistamines don’t work for me?
Although rare, some people will be completely immune to the effects of an antihistamine and hay fever symptoms will persist. The first likely cause of action your GP will take is to prescribe you a steroid nasal spray.
If both antihistamines and steroids have shown no improvement in controlling or reducing your symptoms, your doctor may refer you for immunotherapy.
Immunotherapy involving hay fever comprises of the patient continuously exposing themselves to increasing amounts of pollen, typically as an injection or tablet. The thought is by being exposed to pollen over a long period of time, the body will naturally begin to build an immunity to pollen.
Treatment usually starts in wintertime about 3 months before the hay fever season begins.
Immunotherapy is considered specialist care and may not be available everywhere and will only be recommended if your GP feels it is clinically necessary in your case.