Corticosteroid nasal sprays or drops are the most effective standard treatment for hay fever and other nasal allergies. The benefit is usually obvious within a few days of starting treatment, but may not reach its maximum effect for up to two weeks.
If you get hay fever in the spring or summer, start using your nasal spray at least two weeks before symptoms are expected to start. Taking the spray every day is important. If you are not sure of the best way to use a nasal spray, this leaflet from the British Society for Allergy & Clinical Immunology shows you how.
Antihistamines prevent histamine causing the itching and swelling that occurs when you have allergies. They have been used for many years in the treatment of hay fever, other nasal allergies and skin conditions such as urticaria and eczema.
The older types of antihistamines are now used less often as they can cause drowsiness. We will usually recommend the newer type of antihistamines, which are very safe to take and non-sedating. Most are available to buy over the counter at any chemist; although some are available by prescription only.