By: Joe Swails

What are allergies?
About one in four people in the UK suffer from an allergy or allergies. Overall, allergies are relatively harmless and can be controlled by over-the-counter remedies.

Simply put, an allergy is where you suffer an adverse reaction to something. Most allergies are caused by house dust mites, pets, pollen and nuts.

This article will focus upon 3 ‘allergy conditions’.

Types of allergies include hay fever, allergic conjunctivitis and hives. Let’s look at these now and list the symptoms (and associated symptoms) for each condition:

About Hay Fever: Hay fever is basically caused by an allergic reaction to pollen. You suffer an allergic reaction when pollen comes into contact with body cells in your nose, throat, eyes and mouth. However, hay fever can also be caused by dust mites, mould, pet fur and cockroaches – possibly giving you all-year-round symptoms.

Symptoms of hay fever include:


Watery eyes

Itchy eyes

Runny nose

Blocked nose

Irritated throat, mouth, nose and ears passages (varying in degrees of irritation/itchiness)

A decreased sense of smell or taste


Irritability, and


The severity of these symptoms can differ depending upon the level of hay fever-type allergic reaction you experience in different weather conditions, and when exposed to different pollen-count levels. Also, symptoms can differ from year to year.

About allergic conjunctivitis: Conjunctivitis is generally caused by an infection. However, where allergic conjunctivitis occurs, this is due to an allergy to pollen, animal fur and some cosmetics.

Symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis include:

Itchy eyes

Watery eyes (and also a glue-like, sticky discharge from the eyes)

Soreness, (often described as a gritty or burning feeling, although this isn't always present)

Redness (this occurs in the whites of your eyes and can make your eyes look bloodshot)

Watering or discharge

A mild sensitivity to light

About Hives: Hives are small weals on the skin (these can be either red or white in colour and can appear like blisters). When tiny amounts of fluid leak from blood vessels just under the skin, hives appear as weals (and itchy rash). The weals can also vary in shape and size, with several weals often ‘joining together’ to form one large weal. Again, although these large weals can cause alarm to the sufferer, they should clear up within a day or two.

Causes of allergies include:

House dust mites




Insect stings


Pet hair


Viral infections

Certain medications




Some people have a genetic predisposition to developing allergies. That is, there is a family history of having allergic reactions to certain triggers involved.

For the vast majority of people who develop conditions such as those outlined above (in our Symptoms section), the symptoms generally clear up after a few of days without treatment. Over-the-counter remedies can help ease symptoms and associated symptoms of allergy conditions. More information on how you can buy these remedies from Chemist Online is in our How Chemist Online Can Help section below.

Where symptoms fail to clear up of their own accord (or where over-the-counter remedies prove unsuccessful after about a 48 to 72-hour period), then arrange an appointment with your GP. After taking your medical history and asking you some questions about your symptoms, your GP will then examine your affected area and recommend an appropriate treatment.

Effect on your life
Most people say that allergies and allergic reactions are simply inconvenient. You should not need to take time off work, but, where symptoms are particularly severe, this is something you may need to consider (your GP will advise you regarding this).

The main thing is to: avoid the triggers of your allergic reaction; take over-the-counter or prescribed medicines (where appropriate); and simply to wait for your symptoms to clear up.

As we have seen, most allergies can be successfully treated with over-the-counter remedies. However, where symptoms persist, your GP can recommend a range of prescribed treatments.

Prescribed hay fever treatments can include:

Antihistamine tablets and nasal sprays

Eye-drops, and

Pollen-blocking creams

Also, sometimes complementary therapies such as acupuncture and homoeopathy can prove successful in controlling symptoms.

Allergic conjunctivitis is usually treated with prescribed eye-drops.

Hives are usually treated with antihistamines. These are available as over-the-counter remedies or by prescription.

Overall then, when it comes to self-help techniques, the best thing you can do is to avoid the triggers of your allergies as best you can.

How Chemist Online can help
Through this website we have a range of treatments available to buy which can help relieve the symptoms of allergies.

Advice & Support
Allergy UK
Tel: 01322 619898

This information and advice is not intended to replace the advice of your GP or chemist. Chemist Online is also not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based upon the content of the Chemist Online website. Chemist Online is also not liable for the contents of any external internet sites listed, nor does it endorse any commercial product or service mentioned or advised on any of the sites.

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