Warning as hay fever tablets run out as UK pollen levels rise

Hay fever tablets are running out while pollen levels are rising.

Before the summer cold, an important ingredient in popular antihistamines is in short supply.

Hay fever sufferers can have trouble getting their usual medication


Hay fever sufferers can have trouble getting their usual medicationCredit: Alamy

Chlorphenamine maleate is the active ingredient that helps relieve the itchy eyes and runny noses of millions of hay fever sufferers.

People with eczema, hives caused by food allergies and insect bites also rely on it, according to the NHS.

Chlorphenamine maleate is found in hay fever remedies such as Piriton, Allercalm, Allerief, Hayleve, and Pollenase.

It is also found in pharmacy hay fever medications.

Boots has reported shortages of this vital ingredient across the industry, the Telegraph reported.

A spokesman told the newspaper: “There are a very small number of lines that are currently out of stock due to a current industry-wide shortage of the active ingredient chlorphenamine maleate.

“However, we expect this to be resolved soon and new shipments are expected in the coming weeks.”

Piriton, which is relied on by many people struggling with hay fever, is sold out online at Boots, Superdrug and Lloyds Pharmacy.

According to Patient Access, chlorphenamine is considered an “older” type of antihistamine.

Although it works well, it can make people drowsy.

It may be useful for those whose hay fever keeps them up at night, but is not recommended for those who drive to work, for example.

There are several newer antihistamines that do not have a drowsy effect, including loratadine, cetirizine, fexofenadine, and acrivastine.

These don’t seem to be affected by the shortage, while other seasonal condition options include eye drops and nasal sprays.

pollen bomb

It comes as pollen levels peak in England and Wales today.

The Met Office estimates pollen levels will ease across much of the faint-hearted but will be high in most of the UK this Friday.

Tree pollen is currently in abundance – to which a quarter of people with hay fever are allergic.

However, grass pollen increases from mid-May and peaks in June and July. Most people with hay fever are allergic to this species.

Sarah Kent, meteorologist at the Met Office, said: “Pollen levels will be high across much of the UK on Monday and Tuesday.

“At the moment it’s mainly tree pollen, [but] The lawn season is just beginning.

“If you’re sensitive to grass pollen, you may notice more symptoms.”

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For most hay fever sufferers, symptoms worsen around midday, when pollen levels are at their peak.

So taking one anti-allergy tablet once a day first thing in the morning provides better protection. Warning as hay fever tablets run out as UK pollen levels rise

Sarah Y. Kim

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