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Hay fever is a common allergic condition that affects up to one in five people at some point in their life. Symptoms of hay fever include sneezing, a runny nose and itchy eyes. The symptoms of hay fever are caused when a person has an allergic reaction to pollen. Pollen is a fine powder released by plants as part of their reproductive cycle. Pollen contains proteins that can cause the nose, eyes, throat and sinuses to become swollen, irritated and inflamed.
There is currently no cure for hay fever but most people are able to relieve symptoms with treatment, at least to a certain extent. Treatment options for hay fever include antihistamines, which can help prevent an allergic reaction from happening and corticosteroids (steroids), which help reduce levels of inflammation and swelling. Many cases of hay fever can be controlled using over-the-counter medication but if your symptoms are more troublesome it’s worth speaking to your GP as you may require prescription medication.