The Truth about Hay Fever Vaccinations

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For many, spring and summer mark a welcome return of sunshine and warmer weather. However, for hay fever sufferers, this is a season of itchy eyes and runny noses. 49% of people say they suffer from hay fever symptoms that can make everyday life impractical. And, while over-the-counter medications can provide some relief, they are not always effective. Which has led many to ask, can I get a hay fever vaccination?

Is there a Vaccine for Hay Fever?

There is currently no hay fever vaccination. But thankfully, there is an alternative treatment available on prescription from a GP. If you have particularly bad symptoms, the hay fever injection may reduce your discomfort so you can enjoy the outdoors again. Read on to learn more about whether this treatment option is safe.

What is Hay Fever?

More commonly known as hay fever, allergic rhinitis is an allergic reaction to substances such as dust mites, pollens and mould. While it is possible to experience hay fever symptoms all year round, they usually worsen between late March and September when the pollen count is high.

Common symptoms include:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Itchy nose and throat
  • Watery and itchy eyes
  • Tiredness
  • Postnasal drip – This occurs when mucus collects in the back of the throat

It is worth noting that the symptoms of pollen allergies are similar to common cold and flu symptoms. However, unlike a common cold, hay fever occurs after exposure to allergens, not a cold virus.

Is there an Injection for Hay Fever?

If left unchecked, hay fever can take a toll on a person’s body and make it difficult to go about day-to-day life. The good news is that there is a hay fever shot available on prescription in the form of a Kenalog injection. This prescription-only medicine is designed to suppress the immune system’s reaction to pollen. As a result, the immune system stops producing antibodies to fight against pollen.

Keep in mind that this treatment is not intended for people with ordinary hay fever symptoms. It can leave patients more susceptible to other infections, such as chickenpox, flu and shingles. What’s more, in some cases, injections can lead to other potential side effects, such as mood swings, raised blood pressure and irregular heartbeat. A professional GP must be the one to recommend and sign off this treatment.

The Kenalog Injection

The Kenalog injection contains a steroid called triamcinolone, also known as corticosteroids. This dose is injected intramuscularly into the muscle of the buttocks. Generally, the recommended dosage is controlled to 1 mg/kg and will be calculated based on the patient’s body weight. Within 48 hours, it is possible to start feeling the effects of the injection.

Why Is This Not A Hay Fever Vaccination?

It is important to not confuse the Kenalog injection with a traditional vaccination. A vaccine teaches your immune system to recognise the disease and defend against infections. This helps to build up immunity and prevent harmful infections in the future. A hay fever shot, on the other hand, does not build up immunity. Instead, it suppresses symptoms and builds up a tolerance to pollen so you can keep life ticking over as normal throughout the hay fever season. This relief can last for up to 6 months. That is why many people go back to their GPs the following year to see whether this treatment is still appropriate.

Is Kenalog Banned in the UK?

At present, Kenalog is not licensed for the treatment of hay fever in the UK. This means it is currently a prescription-only medicine. Patients need to have a consultation with a GP to discuss their severe symptoms and determine whether it is a suitable treatment option for them. Currently, it is only advised as a final option after trying other alternative hay fever treatments.

The Benefits

If you have exhausted every other treatment option, a hay fever injection may ease your symptoms and help you get back to normal life. For many people, the effects will last for the entire hay fever season or at least reduce the severity of symptoms and make pollen season more bearable. If one dose is not enough, a second dose may be recommended by your GP. It is not advisable to have more than two injections per season, except in extreme cases.

The Risks

Remember that this treatment is offered on prescription as a last resort when other treatment options are ineffective. The reason for this is that, unlike antihistamine tablets, the effects of the injection can not be withdrawn once it has been administered. Potential side effects include:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Skin rashes
  • Swelling
  • Insomnia
  • Abdominal pain

This treatment option is also not recommended for patients with the following conditions or ailments:

  • Stomach ulcers
  • Diabetes
  • Osteoporosis
  • Epilepsy
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Hypertension
  • Glaucoma
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Active infection

If you experience side effects or have any concerns, speak to your GP immediately.

The Importance of Seeing a GP

Before making any final decisions, it is wise to book a consultation with your GP. After all, this is a powerful corticosteroid medication. An experienced GP will provide you with professional medical advice and assess whether this treatment is appropriate for you. To minimise the risks and determine the best course of action, your GP will review your medical history, symptoms, and current medications. That way, you can rest easy knowing that you are receiving the best health care possible.

Alternative Treatments

If you only suffer from acute bouts of hay fever, it is a good idea to explore other options first. There are a number of effective ways to manage your hay fever symptoms. For example, simply staying indoors on days when the pollen count is higher than 50 can keep your symptoms at bay.

Not to mention, taking frequent showers and regularly washing your hands can make a world of difference. In a similar vein, rubbing vaseline on your nostrils can prevent pollen from entering your nasal passage. And, of course, there are a number of over-the-counter medicines to help reduce any discomfort, such as antihistamines tablets, eye drops and nasal sprays. 

If you are a long-time sufferer, immunotherapy and Rhinolight therapy may reduce the severity of your symptoms and help you keep life ticking over as normal. Rhinolight therapy is a quick and pain-free treatment that can provide relief after the first session. It works by destroying the cells responsible for pollen allergies. And, with a success rate of up to 90%, it is o surprise that more and more people are choosing this treatment option. 

If none of these methods helps you battle your symptoms, you may want to book a consultation with your GP to see whether a Kenalog injection can provide you with some relief.

Get Hay Fever Relief with Midland Health

While it may be disappointing to learn that there is currently no hay fever vaccination available, we offer private GP consultations with experienced GPs. During your appointment, they will help determine whether a hay fever shot is the right option for you, allowing you to protect yourself from allergens.

If this hay fever vaccine alternative is not suitable, there is no need to worry. We also provide Rhinolight hay fever treatments. To learn more, call us on 0121 769 0999 or send an email to