Spring has well and truly sprung, and for many of us we are starting to experience the tell-tale signs of allergic rhinitis.
Allergic rhinitis, commonly known as hay fever, can be triggered by pollen from grasses, weeds and trees.
Classic hay fever symptoms include itchy, watery eyes, a runny nose, nasal congestion, itchy throat or ears, sneezing and headache.
Spring is traditionally the worst time of year for hay fever sufferers, when pollination of grass, weeds, wildflowers and trees is at its height.
Hay fever can also be caused by allergens around the home; such as dust mites, mould, or animal hair. This kind of hay fever tends to occur all year round.
18% of Australians - of all ages - suffer from hay fever – that is more than 3 million of us! It is more common in females, and most prevalent in the 25-44 year age bracket. It is one of the most common respiratory conditions in Australia.
What causes Hay Fever?
In hay fever sufferers the immune system launches an ‘attack’ against pollen or other microscopic particles trapped in the nose, causing a chronic inflammation of the eyes and nasal passages.
Hay fever can be debilitating. Some complications of hay fever can include fatigue, poor sleep, daytime sleepiness, headaches, poor concentration, irritability, recurrent ear infections in children, recurrent sinus infections in adults and increased risk of developing asthma.
Treatment and Management
There is no real cure for hay fever, however there are effective treatments and medications that can relieve the symptoms. Ask your GP for advice, as some medications can create more problems than they solve. Allergy symptoms tend to persist until treated appropriately.
See your GP to develop a hay fever management plan. Staying on top of your symptoms can help reduce the discomfort and severity of the disease, especially for people who also suffer from asthma.