Over three million Australians are affected by hay fever, which for many reaches its peak during the spring season as pollen levels begin to spike.
Although it’s one of the best seasons of the year, as the days get longer and warmer, many of us loathe the weeks ahead because it causes us so much distress (cue sneezing, itchy and watery eyes).
Yet, still many don’t bother to do anything about it.
A recent survey revealed over half (53%) of all sufferers have never actually sought advice from a GP to manage chronic hay fever symptoms.
We often resign ourselves to the fact that hay fever is just something we have to live with, or we try the same remedies each year expecting different results.
Here then are some top tips from Professor Mimi Tang, Allergy Specialist at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute to help you make it through the sneezing season unscathed.
1. Keep the windows in your home closed. This will help to limit the amount of pollen coming inside and acting as a trigger for symptoms.
2. Use the recirculation option in the car. Some newer cars can also have special air filters that trap pollen so this may not be necessary.
3. Dry clothes and sheets inside rather than outside on a line. This is because pollen can stick to the fabric and exacerbate hay fever symptoms.
4. If you are outside on a windy day, use sunglasses to help minimise pollen bothering or irritating the eyes.
5. The best medicines available are the topical corticosteroid nasal sprays which target all of the symptoms, including congestion. These medicines work best by protecting against symptoms. This means they should be started early before the pollen season hits (now) as they will work much more effectively to keep symptoms away. Antihistamines can target some of the milder symptoms of hay fever such as sneezing and itching but they are less effective at controlling congestion (due to inflammation of the lining of the nasal passages) or runny nose, and can also be used for any breakthrough symptoms that develop despite using the topical nasal corticosteroid spray.
6. Hay fever symptoms can actually be quite disruptive to daily life. People deal with symptoms such as nasal congestion, itchy red or watery eyes, runny nose and sneezing that can severely impact their quality of life. Left unchecked hay fever symptoms may lead to headaches and even sinusitis which is actually a much more serious condition. Visiting a GP is a great first step to ensure you’re prepared for the upcoming Spring season.
7. You can also visit Hay Fever Help to check the daily pollen count and find out more information about how to manage their hay fever.