Spring has sprung but for some of us that also means allergies are on the rise.
Sneezing, runny nose, itchy throat, watery eyes – welcome to spring, and the arrival of peak hay fever season.
Did you know approximately one in five Australians suffers from hay fever. About 18% of Australian adults between the ages of 15 – 59 suffer hay fever symptoms.
While some people experience symptoms now and again; for others they are persistent and severe, and can disrupt sleep, concentration and daily life.
Common hay fever signs include:
· Runny or stuffy nose
· Itchy throat
· Watery eyes
What causes hay fever?
Hay fever, medically known as allergic rhinitis, is caused by allergens.
Symptoms are triggered when pollen grains get trapped in the lining of the nose or eye and release their allergens, causing irritation and an increased production of mucus or tears.
In springtime the allergens can be from the windborne pollen of plants like some types of grass.
Tips to help you handle hay fever:
Avoid the wind
On windy days in spring, stay indoors as much as possible and avoid going out during or just after thunderstorms.
Rinse eyes regularly
Rinse your eyes regularly with cold water to flush away pollen.
When your nasal passages are dry, then your nose will be itchy, and your throat will feel scratchy. You may significantly reduce allergy related symptoms in your throat and nasal passages by drinking six to eight, eight-ounce glasses of water each day. Keep a water bottle handy at your desk, in your handbag and your car and remember to hydrate.
To help battle mould, dehumidifiers are handy to use. Be sure to clean these air-drying devices every week. Air out damp clothes and shoes (in the house) before storing.
Vacuuming your floors, especially high traffic areas, on a daily basis is an efficient way to reduce the amount of allergens floating in the air of your indoor space. If your allergies are especially sensitive, then use a vacuum with a HEPA filter. If using a vacuum with a regular filter, be sure to clean or change the filter each time that you vacuum your floors.
Effective over-the-counter treatments include eye drops to ease itchy, swollen eyes, decongestant or corticosteroid nasal sprays, and antihistamine medications for sneezing and itching are useful to have on standby.
If you suffer hay fever symptoms regularly, it is worthwhile and important to talk to your doctor. A qualified healthcare professional can give you a proper diagnosis and help you with an effective plan for managing, controlling and potentially avoiding the symptoms you’re experiencing.