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What are the common symptoms of allergies and hay-fever?

Allergies & Hay-Fever

An allergy is where your body reacts to something that's normally harmless like pollen, dust or animal fur. The symptoms can be mild, but for some people they can be very serious.

Causes of allergies

Things that cause allergic reactions are called allergens.

Common allergens include:
Tree and grass pollen (hay fever)
House dust mites
Foods, such as peanuts, milk and eggs (food allergy)
Animals, particularly pets like cats and dogs
Insect stings, such as bee and wasp stings
Certain medicines

Symptoms of an allergic reaction can include:
A runny nose or sneezing
Pain or tenderness around your cheeks, eyes or forehead
Coughing, wheezing or breathlessness
Itchy skin or a raised rash (hives)
Feeling or being sick
Swollen eyes, lips, mouth or throat

Treatments for allergies include:

Trying to avoid the thing you're allergic to whenever possible
Medicines for mild allergic reactions like antihistamines, steroid tablets and steroid creams
Emergency medicines called adrenaline auto-injectors, such as an EpiPen, for severe allergic reactions
Desensitisation (immunotherapy) for severe allergic reactions – this involves carefully exposing you to the thing you're allergic to over time, so your body gradually gets used to it and does not react so badly (this should only be done by a medical professional)
Your specialist will give you an allergy management plan that will explain how to manage your allergy.


If you or someone you're with is having a serious allergic reaction and has an adrenaline auto-injector (such as an EpiPen), you should use it immediately.

Instructions are included on the side of the injector if you forget how to use it or someone else needs to give you the injection. Call the emergency line for an ambulance after using the injector, even if you or the person you're with seems to be feeling better.

Our EpiPen refill service is only for refills for the pens and not to treat severe reactions. As we are not an emergency service, we are therefore unable to assist in an emergency reaction situation. We can assist with EpiPen refills for preventative situations, however, if you or someone you know is having a severe reaction, please contact your closest emergency hospital for further in-person care.

Sign-up to Contro to book your GP consultation and receive treatment for your sinus, allergies, hay-fever or EpiPen refills!

Updated on: 26/02/2024

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