A pharmacist explains five surprising hay fever symptoms

Not sure whether you have hay fever or not, or what signs to look out for? A pharmacist reveals five surprising hay fever symptoms.

According to the Met Office, a “pollen bomb” is expected to hit the UK this weekend as warm, dry weather exacerbates pollen levels. And if you have have fevers you are most at risk.

The pollen count is predicted to reach a peak on Tuesday 13 June, although the Met Office are warning sufferers to prepare for weeks of hay fever, as we move into “grass season”. 

With symptoms set to rise, Independent Prescribing Pharmacist, at LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor, Rumeet Patel, wants the public to be aware of some of the more unusual and lesser-known symptoms of hay fever.

Common symptoms of hay fever 

Even if you don’t have hay fever yourself, approximately one in five people in the UK experience this condition so you’re probably aware of the common symptoms. These include:

  • Sneezing often
  • A runny or blocked nose
  • Itchy, red or watery eyes
  • An itchy throat, mouth, nose and ears
  • A cough

You may have just one or two of these symptoms or the whole list.

Five unusual symptoms of hay fever

But these aren’t the only symptoms of hay fever. There are also some lesser known, even surprising symptoms that some people experience. And it is important to know what they are, so you can treat your hay fever and reduce them – and not worry about why you are experiencing them!

So here are five unusual symptoms of hay fever to watch out for.

1) Excessive sweating

Sweating more than usual can be an embarrassing symptom of hay fever. Excessive sweating can be caused by stress, pain or when your immune system is vulnerable – all factors which can occur in hay fever.

2) Loss of smell and taste

Although less common, loss of smell can be a symptom of hay fever. Also known as anosmia, inflammation in the nasal passages can impact our sense of smell. This is the body’s way of limiting the amount of pollen that reaches the nose. 

As taste and smell are linked, if you experience anosmia, you are also likely to notice some loss of taste too. 

Of course, a loss or change in your sense of taste or smell is a symptom of COVID-19. Therefore, you should consider testing or staying at home and avoiding contact with others if you also have a high temperature or do not feel well enough to carry out normal activities.

3) Headaches and migraines

There is also a link between headaches and hay fever. Sinus inflammation can cause a build-up of pressure which results in a sinus headache. This tends to feel as if there is intense pressure inside the head or behind the eyes. 

The histamines released during a hay fever account can also give rise to migraines.

4) Face pain

Many people don’t realise that hay fever can cause pain around the cheeks, eyes and forehead. When you have hay fever, the small air-filled cavities behind the cheekbones and forehead can become inflamed or blocked. This pressure can cause facial pain.

5) Asthma

If you have asthma, you may find hay fever worsens symptoms like wheezing and breathlessness. In fact, some people also find they only experience asthma symptoms during hay fever season.

People with hay fever are also much more likely to develop asthma.

How to treat hay fever 

Generally, hay fever can be managed via allergy treatments and lifestyle changes such as limiting time spent outside.

However, some people experience such bad hay fever symptoms that it can affect daily activities such as sleep and work. In this case, or if your symptoms get worse or have not improved after two to four weeks of taking treatments recommended by a pharmacist, you should see your GP.

Read more hay fever tips

You can read more tips on managing your hay fever symptoms in these articles:

Photo by Hannah Skelly