Ah spring…warm weather, footy finals, cute dresses. But it also means itchy eyes and runny noses to the missions of Aussies who suffer from hayfever. Here are the best ways to survive allergy season.
What is hayfever?
Hayfever is a common health condition triggered by allergens that you inhale, such as dust mites, animal fur or pollens. We are seeing a lot of people coming in to the pharmacy at the moment who are suffering from symptoms of hayfever such as sneezing and red eyes.
What are the symptoms of hayfever?
If you’re experiencing the following symptoms, you may be suffering from hayfever:
– Sneezing – not just once or twice but over and over again
– A nose that can either be runny or blocked, or both
– Red, watery, puffy and itchy eyes
– Itchy mouth, throat, nose and/or ears
– Postnasal drip
– Headaches and/or a ‘fuzzy’ feeling in the head
– Tiredness – sometimes caused because you have been unable to sleep
– A general feeling of being unwell
How can I prevent hayfever?
A good way to prevent hayfever is to avoid the things that trigger it for you, but this can be very difficult. There some other things you can do to reduce your symptoms including:
– Splashing your face and eyes with water regularly to wash away pollen
– Gently smearing some petroleum jelly on the inside of your nose to stop the pollen from touching the lining of your nose
– Avoid areas with large amounts of pollen such as gardens and parks
Are there medications I can take to treat hayfever?
There are many different products available and various brands can be more or less effective than others, depending on the individual. Talk to your pharmacist about your symptoms so they can recommend the best product for you. Some options might include:
– Nasal sprays — these can help to unblock the nose and reduce inflammation. Decongestant nasal sprays can give you quick relief from hayfever symptoms, but should not be used for more than a few days. Steroid nasal sprays are effective in preventing hayfever before it sets in and are safe for long term use throughout the allergy season. Saline sprays are also safe for long term use and can be used multiple times during the day to wash away pollens and reduce congestion.
– Antihistamine medications — these work as a preventative as well as helping to relieve symptoms such as sneezing and itching. Some antihistamines may cause drowsiness so it’s best to check with your pharmacist before making your selection.
– Eye drops — provide relief for itchy, watery, red and/or puffy eyes.
– Combination medications — these contain antihistamines and as well as a decongestant to relieve the symptoms of a blocked or runny nose.
If you are taking any other medications, have an existing medical condition or are pregnant or breastfeeding, tell your pharmacist when selecting a medication to make sure the product is safe for you to use.
Unfortunately, there is no easy solution to hayfever. The best you can do is to control your symptoms by minimising your exposure to allergens such as pollen and talking to your pharmacist about which medications may be right for you.
Do you suffer from hayfever?