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Little is known about the number of people who perceive themselves to be sufferers of hay fever. This study investigated how many people between the ages of 15 and 59 years perceived themselves to be hay fever sufferers and how they treated themselves. The study was carried out in a general practice in Arnold, Nottingham, using a postal questionnaire, to which the response rate was 77% from a sample size of 1062. Of the 813 respondents, 232 (29%) claimed to have had hay fever within the last two years. The prevalence of hay fever decreased significantly with age, and was associated with a history of asthma. One hundred and twenty five sufferers (54%) used over the counter treatments for their hay fever, and one third of these said that they felt drowsy after using them. These findings point to the need for general practitioners to be aware that a number of people, more than has been indicated by previous surveys, perceive themselves to be hay fever sufferers and are prepared to treat themselves using over the counter preparations.