A pharmacist has shared one night-time tip that hay fever sufferers should be doing before they go to bed. 

If you suffer from hay fever, you're already all too familiar with the sneezing, the itchy eyes and runny nose.

You'll also be aware that you pick up over-the-counter antihistamine treatments, drowsiness is also a common side effect that comes hand in hand with the condition.

Most people tend to take these kinds of treatments during the day as and when their symptoms emerge.

Lancashire Telegraph: Is it better to take hay fever medication in the morning or at night? ( Getty Images)Is it better to take hay fever medication in the morning or at night? ( Getty Images) (Image: Getty Images)

However, some health experts have explained that this is not always the most effective strategy when trying to combat symptoms.

Abbas Kanani, pharmacist of Chemist Click, has broken down what hay fever is, the symptoms to look for, how to treat and prevent it in the first place.

What is hay fever?

Commonly known as hay fever, Allergic rhinitis is an allergic reaction to pollen.

Pollen is a fine powder which is produced by flowers, plants, weeds, and trees. 

"When a hay fever sufferer encounters pollen, the body produces histamine as a natural immune response. This causes hay fever symptoms" Abbas Kanani, pharmacist of Chemist Click explained.

The expert pointed out that around 1 in 5 people suffer from hay fever at some point in their life.

That being said, there are some people who are more prone to having the condition. 

"You are more likely to have hay fever if you are asthmatic, have eczema, or you have a family history of allergies," Abbas commented.

Depending on the type of pollen you're allergic to, symptoms can last for a few weeks or months.

How long you'll experience symptoms also varies according to pollen levels in the air and your level of exposure. 

"Hay fever is more likely to cause symptoms if you are outside," the pharmacist continued.

Hay fever symptoms to look for 

The pharmacist has also outlined some of the most common symptoms to have on your radar:

  •     Sneezing
  •     Itchy, runny, or blocked nose
  •     Itchy and runny eyes
  •     Itchy or sore throat
  •     Cough (with out without phlegm)
  •     Feeling tired
  •     Wheezing
  •     Itchy skin
  •     Headache
  •     Earache

The health expert elaborated that these symptoms usually show immediately after exposure to allergens.

In fact, the pharmacist explained that they tend to be the moment when people choose to take an antihistamine treatment for relief.

This is the general rule of thumb; however, Abbas has suggested that you could have a better allergic response by adjusting the time you take the treatment.

When is the best time to take hay fever medication?

The pharmacist commented: "The effects of most antihistamines will build up over time therefore it generally does not matter what time of day you take it.

"However, some people may find it beneficial to take it at night".

"Various allergens that trigger hay fever, including pollen, are more prevalent during the day.

"Taking hay fever tablets at night can help prepare your body to combat these allergens before they have an opportunity to trigger symptoms the following day".

The expert explained that there are certain antihistamines which can have a sedating effect and cause drowsiness as a side effect too.

Lancashire Telegraph: This is when you should take your hay fever medication. ( Getty Images)This is when you should take your hay fever medication. ( Getty Images) (Image: Getty Images)

This can occur even when you are taking the non-drowsy types.

"As a precaution, it is advisable to take antihistamines such as Cetirizine and Fexofenadine at night, which reduces the likelihood of experiencing daytime drowsiness, as the sedative effects can coincide with your natural sleep cycle," according to Abbas.

Why is my hay fever worse at night?

If you suffer from hay fever, you may notice that your symptoms worsen at night.

The pharmacist explained that this is because during the day, hot air rises, carrying pollen with it.

Therefore, at night, as the air cools, pollen can start to fall, causing symptoms.

"Taking hay fever tablets at night can help alleviate these symptoms, allowing for better sleep," Abbas added.

The pharmacist also suggested that consistency is key when it comes to antihistamines. 

The expert said: "Taking hay fever tablets at the same time each night can help develop a consistent routine, making it easier for you to remember to take your medication regularly".

When is hay fever season?

Hay fever season starts as early as March and can last until the middle of September.

Howver, pollen from trees, grass, weeds, and plants are prevalent and affects us at different times of the year.

  • Tree pollen season: March – May
  • Grass pollen season: May – July
  • Weed pollen season: June – September

It is helpful to know what type of pollen you are allergic to so that you can start treatment a few weeks before your allergies kick in.

How to prevent hay fever symptoms

The pharmacist has outlined a few steps that could help you stop developing hay fever symptoms:

  •     Take hay fever medication (preferably before the hay fever season starts)
  •     Stay indoors when the pollen count is high
  •     Shower and change your clothes when you come indoors
  •     Change your bedding frequently
  •     Use an air purifier
  •     Wear sunglasses outside
  •     Rub Vaseline around your nose to trap pollen

How to treat hay fever

The pharmacist urged that although hay fever can affect your quality of life, it can often be managed through medication.

Treatment includes hay fever tablets (antihistamines) or nasal sprays (corticosteroids).

The expert went on to say: "If you suffer from asthma, and you find that your asthma symptoms are worse during the hay fever season, you should speak to your GP about the use of a preventor inhaler, to help manage symptoms.

"You should seek urgent medical assistance if your asthma is making it difficult to breathe," according to Abbas.

The pharmacist added: "There is no official diagnosis for the condition. It is usually detected by assessing symptoms and potential triggers.

Recommended reading

"If you are experiencing symptoms of hay fever during the pollen season, there is a high chance that you have hay fever.

"Nasal sprays and eye drops are also effective treatments. Most antihistamines and nasal sprays start to work within 1-2 hours.

"However, it can take 1-2 weeks of consistent use to feel the full effects of treatment".