Speak to your GP or pharmacist if you're worried about taking a combination of medicines. A recent study found a link between the long-term use of antihistamines and an increased risk of dementia.
Reassuringly for many people, though, the increased risk was only found in people over the age of 65 and in people who took these medicines at the equivalent of once every day for more than three years. Also, the study was considering prescribed antihistamines (not over-the-counter ones) and a particular type of antihistamine ('anticholinergics' known to cause drowsiness, not the newer ones that don't cause drowsiness).
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They should never be taken for more than a few days at a time. Eye drops are available in a pharmacy and can be used to treat itchy or watery eyes.
Steroid tablets are occasionally prescribed if other treatments aren't effective.
Pollen allergy is the term used for an allergy to any pollen (grass, trees and/or weeds).
Rhinitis is the term used to describe a collection of symptoms (such as a runny, blocked nose, sneezing and itching).
An allergy to grass or hay pollen is known as hay fever.
The term 'hay fever' is now also widely used to include allergies to other pollens (such as trees and weeds). Approximately 80 per cent of people with asthma tell us they also have a pollen allergy (which means their asthma symptoms are triggered by pollen). Your GP can work out whether or not you have hay fever by considering your symptoms, finding out about your family history and environment and examining you physically.Salt water (saline) solutions are available in various types - speak to your GP or pharmacist about what they recommend for you.Immunotherapy involves giving you gradually increasing amounts of whatever you're allergic to, by injection or with tablets, over a number of years.For example, if your symptoms start as early as January or February and continue until late March, it may be that you're allergic to early flowering trees, such as the hazel and alder. Steroid nasal sprays help to prevent or reduce inflammation in the lining of the nose and some can help to relieve watery eyes.Bear in mind, though, that the season and severity of each type of pollen changes each year according to that year's weather conditions. Treatment for hay fever depends on how severe your symptoms are. Don't be put off by the fact that the spray contains a steroid as the dose is tiny and only goes where it's needed (it isn't absorbed into the rest of the body).Ask your GP if this treatment might be suitable for you. It's worth taking a bit of time to make sure you learn the right way as it can make a huge difference to how effective it is and also helps to reduce any potential side effects.