‘Hay fever’, or seasonal allergic rhinitis, is common amongst Australians. Many of us suffer an allergic reaction to allergens carried in tree, grass or weed pollens, usually during the spring and summer months.
If you’re suffering from seasonal allergies, you will most likely encounter symptoms such as: sneezing, a runny nose, itchy eyes or allergy induced asthma – symptoms are most likely to show in those who have a family history of ‘hay fever’, and will occur when the immune system mistakes allergens for harmful substances, such as viruses.
Seasonal allergies – a calendar
Grass pollen: October to May
- Allergens can include: rye, Bermuda, couch, annual, Kentucky blue grass paspalum and prairie grass.
Tree pollen: October to April
- Be sure to watch out for silver birch pollen, olive, poplar ash, oak and maple.
Weed pollen and spores: September to April
- These can include allergens such as plantain, plus spores from fungi and moulds.
How best to treat seasonal allergies
- Medicines: Over the counter medicines are a fast and effective way to reduce the symptoms of seasonal allergies – ask your local pharmacist for details on the best antihistamines, nasal sprays, decongestants and eye drops for your symptoms. Be aware that stronger doses may require a prescription from your GP.
- Self-help: If your symptoms persist, consider a change in lifestyle:
- Limit your contact with allergens by staying indoors when the pollen count is high – this might involve closing windows and doors.
- Take note that the pollen count is often highest in the morning of afternoon.
- Remove any houseplants that may be triggering you symptoms.
- Consider drying your clothes inside – traditional outdoor methods may result in allergens collecting on your clothes or bed linen.
- Wash your hair or shower after spending extended periods outdoors.
Living with seasonal allergies needn’t be a trauma – follow these simple steps and observe a significant reduction in your symptoms. You’ll be feeling better in no time!