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5 Top Home Remedies for Hay Fever

While the longer days, warmer sunshine, and budding flowers are beautiful sights to behold, spring can be incredibly troublesome for hay fever sufferers across the country. 

Whether it’s the sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes and throat, or just general fatigue, the increased pollen count can keep you from truly enjoying the change in seasons. Not to mention that hay fever symptoms can last for several weeks and there is currently, at least, no cure for hay fever.

But that does not mean you need to suffer all summer! Take a look at our recommended home remedies, below, to help get rid of hay fever symptoms as fast as possible.

1. Use petroleum jelly as a pollen deterrent

It might be best known for its magical work on restoring cracked lips, but petroleum jelly is also fantastic at trapping pollen and helping to stop hay fever sneezing.

The sticky substance stops pollen from entering your nasal passages and irritating your sinuses. This means you can head outside a little lighter, knowing you’ll be stopping (most) hay fever at its source.

To get rid of hay fever symptoms yourself using this method, simply spread a bit of petroleum jelly around the inside edges of your nostrils before you go outside. That’s all there is to it!

Some pollen particles are still bound to sneak on through, but petroleum jelly acts as an effective way to stop discomfort in your nose. Just bear in mind that petroleum jelly is best for nasal-related symptoms; itchy eyes or a tickly throat will need a different home remedy.

2. Breathe in a bowl of steam

Petroleum jelly is a great pollen deterrent, but what about when your nose is already irritated and stuffy? After all, the constant sniffing and blowing of nasal congestion is an extremely uncomfortable hay fever symptom to contend with!

Well, with steam inhalation, you can clear up blocked nasal passages and get rid of hay fever. It also couldn’t be simpler to do yourself.

Ensure you’re sitting comfortably, ideally at a table. Get a heatproof bowl of boiled water, cover your head and the bowl with a towel (making sure to maintain a good distance between your face and the water), and breathe in the steam. This will loosen up the mucus in your nostrils and help you breathe a little more easily.

3. Rinse nasal passages with salt water

A great way to clear up mucus that is over-staying its welcome is to attack it at its source.

Where steam inhalation is a fantastic way to relieve hay fever symptoms for a runny nose indirectly, you could try rinsing nasal passages with a saltwater solution as well.

By tipping your head back and adding a few drops of saltwater solution (also known as ‘saline solution’) into your nasal passages, you won’t just be removing all the fresh mucus that has built up from pollen exposure, but also a lot of the thick and dried mucus should ease, too.

4. Treat itchy eyes with a cold compress

Fed up of tearing up while trying to enjoy the summer sunshine? Here’s an ingenious hack that could remedy perhaps the most irritating hay fever symptom.

By adding a cold compress to your eyes for 5 to 10 minutes a day, you can help ease puffiness, reduce redness, and sooth swollen eyes as a result of hay fever.

So, whether you opt for a bag of frozen veg, ice cubes wrapped in a tea towel, or used tea bags, simply lie back and place your cold compress of choice onto your eyes. You can enjoy that itch-free feeling, while helping to reduce puffiness and swelling from hay fever. 

5. Hydrate with honey and lemon

A strong choice for many cough-based ailments, honey and lemon is an excellent remedy for clearing up mucus, especially when hoping to stop hay fever symptoms.

While honey does not cure you of hay fever (as many people believe), it is an anti-bacterial powerhouse which helps hay fever sufferers ease congestion as it coats the throat. It also tastes delightful! Lemon is a dream stablemate with honey as it comes packed with vitamin C, while the citric acid helps to clear up mucus that has been building up in the throat.

Try a few mugs of half a squeezed lemon and a teaspoon of honey for a deliciously sweet drink that helps to get rid of hay fever naturally.

Other top tips for treating hay fever yourself include:

  • Shut windows and doors – This will help keep pollen out from your living space as much as possible. Remember to do this both day and night as pollen levels do not always drop off once the sun goes down!

  • Reduce your alcohol intake – While sufferers are often administered antihistamines to cure hay fever, alcohol contains histamine: the chemical that triggers allergic reactions. As such, alcohol can actually make hay fever symptoms a lot worse and much more difficult to get rid of.

  • Change clothes and shower upon returning home – By removing any lingering pollen, you will reduce any further irritation while you relax at home. This rule also applies to pets who venture outdoors!

  • Wear sunglasses when out and about – Even when the rays aren’t at their strongest, a pair of sunglasses could be a real game-changer when it comes to getting rid of itchy eyes during hay fever season, shielding the eyes from roaming pollen.

  • Consider an air purifier – If you have severe hay fever symptoms and you’ve tried all of the above, you could go one step further by installing an air purifier in your home. Some types can reduce pollen levels in the home by up to 99.97%!

Of course, our home remedies to help hay fever symptoms are only a small selection of effective treatments. You can find more tips for stopping hay fever over on the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, such as certain eye drops or eye ointments.


For more hay fever advice from Benenden Health, head over to our Be Healthy hub where you can find more information about hay fever and allergic reactions, along with many other helpful topics to improve your wellbeing.

Medically reviewed by Llinos Connolly on June 2023.