Hay fever symptoms can be significantly reduced after three years of treatment

Hay fever sufferers may be able to significantly reduce their symptoms such as itchy red eyes and a runny nose by having treatment for three years, new research suggests.

Scientists from Imperial College London found people with hay fever, an allergic reaction to pollen, were able to “suppress” the condition by taking pollen pills or undergoing injections. However, while a three-year course of treatment was shown to markedly lessen symptoms “for several years”, two years of treatment did not bring the same benefits.  

Past studies have shown that exposing patients to increasing amounts of grass pollen over time – a type of immunotherapy – is an effective way to reduce severe symptoms in the long term. Hay fever has been estimated to affect as many as one in four people across the UK. The majority of these cases are initiated as a reaction to grass pollen.

The new study, published in the journal JAMA, involved patient volunteers at Royal Brompton Hospital in London.

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