You’re more likely to have hay fever if you have asthma
Although around one in five people in the UK have hay fever (an allergy to pollen which causes a blocked or runny nose, sneezing and itchy eyes), it’s much more common among people who have asthma. Around four out of five people with asthma told us that they also have hay fever – and for many, it can impact on daily life:
- more than three in four said it affected their sleep
- seven in ten said it affected their social life
- more than half said it had triggered a terrifying asthma attack.
If you have asthma, pollen’s not just a problem during the summer
Grass pollen is a very common hay fever trigger, usually starting around April – but trees like Hazel and Alder can start releasing their pollen as early as January. Use this handy pollen calendar to help you work out what you might be reacting to. Sounds so simple but if you react to pollen at a certain time this year, you’re more likely to do the same next year too – and you can plan ahead to take your hay fever medicines at the right time.
Your pharmacist – as well as your GP – can help you manage both better
You don’t have to put up with hay fever or asthma symptoms as ‘just one of those things’. Speak to your GP or asthma nurse – they may suggest updating your asthma action plan with extra medicines during pollen season to keep your hay fever under control.
And they can also check that you’re taking your inhalers in the best way possible, so all the medicine is getting where it’s needed and making it less likely that hay fever will trigger your asthma. Your pharmacist can help recommend hay fever medicines and check your inhaler technique too, even if you don’t have an appointment.
You could also call or email the Asthma UK Helpline for personalised advice from asthma experts.
Getting on top of your asthma is essential for the hay fever season
It’s pretty impossible to avoid pollen, so the best way to stop hay fever setting off your asthma symptoms is to get your asthma basics right:
- See your GP or asthma nurse at least once a year to check that the action plan is still working for you
- Fill in a written asthma action plan with your GP or asthma nurse, so you know what to do every day, when you’re feeling worse, and in an emergency
- Take your preventer medicine every day, even when you’re feeling well, so your airways are less likely to react to pollen – plus anything else that’s a trigger for you like smoke, pets or stress.