Countless people across Melbourne suffer from hay fever. Are you one of them?
Medically known as allergic rhinitis, hay fever causes cold-like signs and symptoms. This can include things like runny nose, itchy eyes, congestion, sneezing and sinus pressure.
However, unlike a cold, hay fever isn’t caused by a virus.
Hay fever is caused by the nose and/or eyes coming into contact with environmental allergens, like pollen, dust mites, mould and even animal hair.
How do you manage hay fever?
The first thing you need to do is identify the allergens causing the symptoms.
In some cases the cause may be obvious. But in other cases, your doctor will need to consider your medical history and possibly order tests or a referral to a specialist in difficult cases.
Some medications may help relieve the symptoms of hay fever, such as:
- Nasal sprays
- Antihistamines (like Telfast and Claratyne)
- Eye drops.
Some medications need a prescription while others don’t. It’s always best to ask your GP for advice.
How can you reduce symptoms?
There are ways to prevent or limit your hay fever symptoms, including:
- In your garden, choose plants that are pollinated by birds or insects, rather than plants that release their seeds into the air
- Splash your eyes often with cold water to flush out any allergen
- Reduce your exposure to dust and dust mites, animals and animal hair or fur.
If you’re allergic to grass pollen, it can be difficult to avoid. However, when pollen levels are high the following advice may help:
- Avoid being outdoors on very windy days and when there are thunderstorms
- Avoid activities known to cause exposure to pollen, such as mowing grass
- Shower after outdoor activities
- Use re-circulated air in the car
- Wear sunglasses
- Dry your bedding and clothing inside.
Stay informed about pollen
It’s now easier than ever to know when the high pollen days are.
Just check this website or download the Melbourne Pollen Count app on your phone.
Does hay fever only affect people in spring?
Most people associate hay fever with spring, when airborne grass pollens are at their peak. This is known as seasonal allergic rhinitis or spring hay fever.
However, hay fever can occur at any time of the year. When symptoms occur all year round, this is known as perennial allergic rhinitis. This is usually caused by a reaction to allergens around the home, like dust mites and animal hair.
Hay fever or COVID-19?
Both hay fever and COVID-19 include respiratory symptoms. So, it’s easy to get them confused.
If you have respiratory symptoms and aren’t sure if it’s hay fever or COVID-19, just give us a call.
If you’ve never had hay fever before, you should you get a COVID-19 test straight away and then self-isolate until you get the results.
Get help for hay fever
If you suffer from persistent hay fever, have a chat with us about the best ways to manage it.
Spring is a beautiful season and we’d like to help you enjoy it!
Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs. Page last updated 26 September 2021.