I don’t know about you but my hay fever has been the worst it’s been in over seven years! And I’m not the only one, my colleague can’t stop sneezing either.
Is it something in the air or is that silly myth coming true that hay fever comes back stronger every seven years?
Hayfever or allergic rhinitis is caused by an allergic reaction. When dust, pollens, animal allergens or other particles get trapped in the nose of someone that has hay fever, it sets off an immune response.
The immune system releases histamine, triggering a response designed to flush allergens from the body. This inflames the nasal passages and produces mucus, mucus and more mucus.
If you suffer from hay fever during the spring, it is probably due to an allergic reaction to airborne grass or tree pollens.
Ease the sneeze
• Avoid putting your hands near your eyes and nose. Wash your eyes with water to wash out the irritant instead of rubbing.
• Change your clothes when you have been outside in case you are carrying pollen in the house. Also leave your shoes outside.
•Wear sunnies when you are outside to help protect from airborne allergens.
• Check the pollen calendar provided by the Asthma Foundation of Victoria- see their website: http://www.asthma.org.au/.
In general, pollen levels in the atmosphere will be highest on hot days and on days where a dry wind is blowing.
They are also higher earlier in the morning and later in the afternoon so try to stay indoors during these times.
• Take medications that are fast acting and won’t make you drowsy.
Antihistamines work by blocking the allergic response and relieving or preventing symptoms such as sneezing.
Examples of non drowsy anti-histamines include Telfast and Clarantyne.
• Decongestant nasal sprays can help as they reduce the swelling of your sinuses and will clear out blocked passages.
• Eye drops may relieve itchy, swollen or runny eyes. Ask your GP/ pharmacist for advice before choosing.
• Keep your house clean and ventilated to avoid dampness. Damp houses have a higher mould content than dry homes and indoor mould is a common cause of hay fever.
• Wash and dry hair before bed to rinse away allergens in the hair. Don’t go to bed with wet hair as a warm damp pillow encourages mould growth.
• Keep windows and doors closed to prevent pollen entering.
• Hang clothes indoors to dry, pollen can stick to clothing on windy days
• Vacuuming at least once per week will reduce the number of dust mites, particularly if you use a vacuum with HEPA filters.
• Change your bed sheets regularly to remove pollen particles and dust mite faeces.
• Avoid keeping plants in your bedroom.
• Ask your doctor about immunotherapy. Allergen immunotherapy exposes a person to increasing amounts of an allergen to improve tolerance and reduce symptoms.
Keep in mind however that it can take up to six months for this treatment to work.
• See your GP if symptoms persist. Untreated allergies can worsen other chronic respiratory problems such as asthma, sinusitis and skin disorders such as eczema.