Symptom relievers - two young women enjoying a bike rideThere are both medical and non-medical products available to help manage the symptoms of allergies like hay fever and house dust mite allergies that affect the sinuses. Here are the most commonly used.

Nasal steroids

Nasal sprays containing steroids can help relieve a blocked, stuffy nose by reducing inflammation in the nasal tissue. The advantage of this type of medication is that it acts mainly in the nose, without affecting the rest of your body.

Steroid sprays take some time to work, so they’re most effective when used on a daily basis during pollen season. It's also important to use them correctly - tip your head forwards and don't sniff as you activate the spray. Always consult the product instructions that come with your medicine.


Antihistamines work by blocking the effects of histamine, which our bodies produce in response to a perceived threat.

Find out more


Find out more about antihistamines, including which ones are more likely to make you drowsy, with our handy guide

They address different symptoms than steroids, and tend to act more quickly on sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes. Many allergy sufferers take both medicines together for comprehensive relief.

Antihistamines are available over the counter as tablets, liquids, nasal sprays, and eye drops. Some antihistamines can make you drowsy. The formula you choose may depend on the time of day you are seeking symptom relief.

These medications will not address the underlying cause of your allergy, but should provide short-term relief for your symptoms.


Blockers are practical, non-medicinal tools to stop pollen from getting into the sensitive tissue in your eyes and nasal passages.

Wearing clear plastic nasal filters can be very effective, preventing you from inhaling pollen through your nostrils. These are easy to use and available in a range of sizes, helping you stay active outdoors even during high pollen counts.

An alternative is nasal powder that coats and protects the sensitive areas of your nasal passages. Made of cellulose, it acts as a natural barrier to pollen.

You can apply nasal allergen barrier balm around your nostrils and under your eyes. Its sticky texture traps pollen on your skin and can stop it getting into your eyes or nose. Balms are often made from natural ingredients and are available over the counter.

You can also use saline nasal sprays and douches to flush allergens out of the nose.

1251CC July 2018
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