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18 Aug 2015

Ask the Pharmacist: Itchy Nose and Eyes

Dear Rowlands Pharmacy,

I have recently started suffering from an itchy nose and eyes of an evening. I don’t generally have problems when I am at work however I like to sit in the garden to have dinner with my family, this is when my symptoms seem to worsen and I find myself rubbing my eyes. The itching seems to get progressively worse throughout the evening however it has generally eased by the following morning. Is there anything I can do to help this?

Outdoor Lover, Birmingham.

Itchy Eyes and Nose

Dear Outdoor Lover,

You seem to be struggling with the symptoms of hayfever. This is an allergic condition triggered by pollen. I would recommend taking an antihistamine to prevent the general symptoms of an itching nose and itchy watery eyes. There are a number of these available, I would recommend a once daily formulation such as Loratadine or Cetirizine as these are less likely to cause drowsiness than some of the others. If you are affected by drowsiness it is important you avoid driving or operating machinery.

You may also find it useful to take/use a more locally acting product such as Sodium Cromoglycate eye drops for your eye symptoms; these can be used alongside the antihistamine tablets and work specifically for your eye symptoms. 1 – 2 drops should be applied four times a day, once opened these drops will last up to four weeks, after this date it is important to discard the drops to prevent eye infections. Nasal sprays containing steroids such as Fluticasone may also help with your itchy nose however you may need to use these for a few days before you will notice the effects. Apart from medication there are a number of actions you can take to protect yourself from pollen and the effects of hayfever such as wearing wrap-around sunglasses when outside, keeping windows closed around the house to prevent pollen getting into the house and changing your clothes and having a shower when you get in at the end of the day may also help.

Avoid rubbing your eyes as much as possible I know your eyes are very itchy but rubbing them will make your symptoms worse. Hopefully by taking/using the medication outlined and trying out some of these tips your symptoms should improve.

For a full list of hayfever treatments and remedies, visit our hayfever department.
For further information on hayfever and the treatments and remedies available, visit our Hayfever Advice Centre page.