How should I treat hay fever if I am breastfeeding?

The following applies to mothers of full term, healthy babies. If you are breastfeeding a baby who was born prematurely, had a low birth weight or has any underlying medical condition, you should not take medicine without seeking advice from your GP.

You can usually take a number of medicines for hay fever (seasonal allergic rhinitis) without risk to your baby. However, you must take care when deciding which treatment to use.

When you are choosing, ask a pharmacist (chemist) for advice. You should take into account the severity of your hay fever symptoms and the effectiveness of the treatment.


  • Avoid the situations where an allergic reaction might be triggered. Don’t sit outside when the pollen count is high, and keep windows and doors shut at the times of day you are usually affected. This will minimise the amount of treatment you need.
  • Consider how severe the hay fever is – does it really need treatment?
  • Any medicine prescribed should be the lowest possible dose and for the shortest possible time.
  • Use topical treatment at first. These are medications applied to the surface of the skin. You could also try intranasal corticosteroids or sodium cromoglicate eye drops.
  • The oral antihistamines recommended for you if you’re breastfeeding are cetirizine or loratadine – these are sometimes also listed as different brand names, so speak to your pharmacist for advice.


NHS Choices

Published Date 2010-07-23

Last Review Date 2007-12-04

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