Hay fever: tips for allergy sufferers

Heuschnupfen: Tipps für Allergiker Heuschnupfen: Tipps für Allergiker

More light, warmer temperatures, awakening nature - spring is here and draws us outside. Pollen is also on the move again and makes life difficult for pollen allergy sufferers.

Hay fever symptoms

The pollen comes into contact with the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose or eyes via the air. The following symptoms occur:

  • sneezing, runny nose or stuffy nose
  • itching, watering and reddened eyes
  • itching in palate, nose and ears
  • allergic asthma

The pollen allergy rarely occurs before the age of three. As a rule, symptoms begin at school age.

Hay fever cause

Hay fever is caused by pollen from plants. This serves the natural fertilisation of plants and is transmitted by insects or the wind. The types of pollen that cause hay fever usually come from grasses (hay), from trees (birch, hazel, etc.) or from herbs or weeds (e.g. ragweed). The flowering period is very different. A small amount is sufficient to trigger allergic reactions. The predisposition to pollen allergy is usually inherited.

Hay fever treatment

In the case of a strong allergic reaction, often the only thing that helps is to go to the doctor. The use of antihistamines or cortisone as well as desensitisation are among the most common treatment methods. The costs incurred are covered by basic insurance if the medication has been prescribed by a doctor.


The histamine released during an allergic reaction is responsible for the unpleasant symptoms. Many antihistamines are available only on prescription. They weaken the effect of the body's own histamine and thus also the symptoms.


Medicine containing cortisone is available only on prescription. Cortisone has an anti-inflammatory effect shortly after use. Prolonged use and high dosage can cause side effects.


Desensitisation may only be performed by a physician. In order for the body to become accustomed to the allergenic substances and to trigger a weaker or no longer defensive reaction, the allergens are injected into the body in slowly increasing doses. Treatment must be carried out regularly and takes three to five years.

Hay fever household remedies

Many people also respond well to homoeopathic remedies and traditional Chinese medicine. Both types of treatment can be combined well with conventional medicine.

Home remedies can also help to alleviate symptoms. Popular home remedies are, for example:

  • salt water as nasal shower
  • inhalation of salt water
  • black cumin oil
  • root herb eyebright as drops or tea
  • peppermint as tea or oil
  • damp, cool cloths as an eye mask against itching

These tips help to ensure that the pollen has almost no chance:

Pollen flight

Find out about the current pollen count situation in your region from Meteo Switzerland or with the Swiss Allergy Centre app.

Hygiene & sleep

The most pollen is in our hair. So take a shower and wash your hair before going to sleep. Change the bed linen frequently and buy an air purifier or pollen screen for the windows, at least for the bedroom.


Don't dry your laundry outdoors. The pollen likes to stick to damp laundry. Don't store worn clothes in the bedroom.


Only ventilate briefly with low pollen load. Ideally between 06:00 and 08:00 and 19:00 and 24:00 or after long periods of rain. Mount pollen screens on the windows or buy an air purifier.


Clean your home as often as possible, and avoid dust traps such as carpets and upholstered furniture. Look for a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter and, if possible, leave vacuuming to a non-allergic person.

Apartment selection

If possible, don't rent or buy an apartment in the immediate vicinity of allergenic plants.


Through physical activity you breathe in more deeply and thus absorb more pollen. Move your sporting activities to the indoor arena when the pollen count is high or use the time after a rain shower.


Many hay fever patients are prone to cross-allergies, which means they are also sensitive to certain foods. For example, nuts, fruits, carrots, celery and tomatoes in combination with certain pollen allergies can trigger additional symptoms. You can find more information on this in our article on cross-allergies.

On the road

Always wear sunglasses and keep your outdoor activities to a minimum. Close the windows while driving and have a pollen filter installed in the car.


Adjust your holidays to the pollen count and travel to the beach, desert areas or high mountain regions during the allergy season.

Tips for trips

Go to an indoor swimming pool for a whole day and enjoy sauna and steam baths. A few hours without symptoms are very relaxing.

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