Is it safe to double dose antihistamines on a bad hay fever day? Allergy expert advice

Hay fever: Dr Glenis shares tips for preventing symptoms

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The pollen count is set to wreak havoc upon hay fever sufferers this week, with warm weather intensifying symptoms. If you’re experiencing a particularly bad episode, you may be tempted to double dose antihistamines. Is it safe to double dose antihistamines? Yes, says allergy expert professor Adam Fox.

Professor Fox was responding to a caller on ITV’s This Morning.

The caller asked whether it was safe to take two antihistamines on a particularly bad day.

Prof Fox said it is safe but you should run it by your GP or pharmacist if you’re taking any existing medications.

As he pointed out, hay fever varies, with some days proving particularly troublesome, so topping up antihistamines is perfectly acceptable.

If you’re taking antihistamines, you should opt for the non-drowsy variety, he added.

What else does prof Adam Fox recommend?

Hay fever can affect anyone but for 20 to 25 percent of people, it can be a “really big deal,” he explained.

If self-help tips are not proving effective, you should have a chat about steroid nasal sprays with your GP, he advised.

Steroid nasal sprays, also called corticosteroid nasal sprays, are anti-inflammatory medicines that you spray into your nose.

“If you’ve tried everything, get a referral for desensitisation,” advised prof Adam Fox.

This treatment therapy involves administering small amounts of pollen as an injection or tablet to slowly build up your immunity to pollen.

According to the NHS, this kind of treatment usually starts in the winter about three months before the hay fever season begins.

“Immunotherapy is a specialist service that may not be available everywhere,” explains the health body.

What causes hay fever?

Allergy UK explains: “It is caused when the body makes allergic antibodies (IgE) to certain substances, such as pollen, house dust mites or mould, which are known as allergens.”

According to the health body, grass pollen is the most common allergen (May to July), but tree (February to June) and weed (June to September) pollens can also cause the allergic reaction we know as hay fever.

“In perennial allergic rhinitis the symptoms continue all year round and usually relate to indoor allergens, such as house dust mites, pets, including birds, or moulds,” it explains.

Symptoms include:

  • Itchy eyes/ throat
  • Sneezing, blocked/runny nose
  • Watering, red eyes (allergic conjunctivitis)
  • Headaches, blocked sinuses
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tiredness
  • The sensation of mucus running down the back of the throat, which can also be a symptom, is called ‘post-nasal drip’.

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