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Less commonly, you may experience:
- the loss of your sense of smell
- facial pain (caused by blocked sinuses)
- tiredness and fatigue
While symptoms of hay fever may be mild, they can interfere with your sleep and your daily activities at school or work.
Hay fever and asthma
If you have asthma, your asthma symptoms may get worse when you have hay fever. Sometimes, asthma symptoms only occur when you have hay fever.
These symptoms include:
- tight chest
- shortness of breath
Hay fever symptoms are likely to be worse if the pollen count is high. The pollen count is the number of grains of pollen in one cubic metre of air.
Air samples are collected in traps set on buildings two or three storeys high. Taking samples from this height gives a better indication of the pollen in the air.
Traps on the ground would only collect pollen from nearby trees and plants.
The air is sucked into the trap and the grains of pollen are collected on either sticky tape or microscope slides (glass plates). The pollen is then counted. Samples are normally taken every two hours, and usually the results are averaged over a 24-hour period.
The pollen forecast is usually given as:
- low: fewer than 30 grains of pollen in every cubic metre of air
- moderate: 30-49 grains of pollen in every cubic metre of air
- high: 50-149 grains of pollen in every cubic metre of air
- very high: 150 or more grains of pollen in every cubic metre of air
Hay fever symptoms usually begin when the pollen count is over 50. The pollen count is usually given as part of the weather forecast during the spring and summer months.
When to seek medical advice
Most cases of hay fever can be treated using over-the-counter medication.
A pharmacist can advise on treatments for you or your children.
You would normally only need to see your GP if:
- you can't control your symptoms with over-the-counter medications or you are having troublesome side effects caused by the medication
- you are experiencing persistent complications of hay fever, such as worsening of asthma or repeated episodes of sinusitis
- the pattern of your symptoms is unusual; such as occurring during the winter or