Spring is a beautiful time of year and most people welcome the warmer weather and longer days with open arms. Unfortunately, while there are plenty of reasons to love spring, for many Australians the first day of September marks only one thing – the beginning of the dreaded hay fever season. While many Australians may not be aware that allergy treatments have been changing and there are more options available now for treatment at specialised allergy centres.
This hay fever season has been predicted to be the worst ever and our Allergy Doctors are already seeing the outfall of chronic allergies and acute allergies hit hard.
During World Allergy Week 2016, the World Allergy Organisation (WAO) led a campaign to increase global awareness of the rising incidence of allergic respiratory disease, mainly allergies triggered by airborne pollen (WAO, 2016).
The campaign followed the publication of a body of evidence suggesting regional changes in climate, in particular rising temperatures, and the increased emission of greenhouse gases, namely carbon dioxide, favour airborne allergens and the distribution and severity of allergic disease (D’Amato et al., 2015).
The WAO forecast the global rise in pollen-induced asthma and allergic rhinitis (hay fever) is likely only to worsen in decades (and pollen seasons!) to come.
This spring, if you are one of the next wave of Australians experiencing major hay fever or asthma symptoms for the first time, be proactive and seek the immediate advice of an allergy trained general practitioner.
At the Australian Allergy Centre, our doctors and nurses can help free you from the struggle and debilitating effects of seasonal allergies. Much more than just an allergy testing facility, we offer the latest, evidence-based treatments for pollen-induced hay fever and asthma.
While traditional therapies such as saline rinses, oral antihistamines and nasal sprays are effective in providing short term relief from hay fever symptoms, most allergy sufferers are unaware of the most modern anti-allergic treatments and long term solutions accessible through the Australian Allergy Centre.
1. Rhinolight® phototherapy.
Rhinolight® intranasal phototherapy is a new treatment option for sufferers of hay fever which utilises the immunosuppressive effects of UV light to dampen the body’s immune response to inhaled allergens such as pollens, moulds, house dust mites and animal dander (Brehmer, 2010).
Though only introduced into Australian clinical practice in recent years, Rhinolight® phototherapy is well established within allergy clinics across Europe. Rhinolight® phototherapy has been clinically tested and proven to significantly decrease the severity of common symptoms of hay fever such as sneezing, runny nose, nasal itching and nasal congestion, for up to 12 months (Brehmer, 2010).
The Australian Allergy Centre has been offering Rhinolight® phototherapy for the management of hay fever for many years, with excellent success. In a survey conducted last month of patients who underwent eight treatments, over 80% reported significant improvements in their allergy symptoms.
Rhinolight® is quick, easy and pain free. Treatment simply involves shining the special wavelength light source into each nasal cavity for two to three minutes at a time. Rhinolight® is appropriate for children and is safe to perform during pregnancy.
2. Allergen immunotherapy.
Allergen immunotherapy, often referred to as desensitisation, is considered the closest thing to a “cure” for allergy. Immunotherapy is like a vaccine. It involves the regular administration of an allergenic extract/s, over a period of years. Over time, the body becomes desensitised and essentially “switches off” the allergy, so that exposure to the allergen/s can be tolerated with few or no symptoms.
While traditionally, immunotherapy was only available as injections, immunotherapy can now be administered sublingually, that is, as a drop or dissolvable tablet under the tongue. Sublingual immunotherapy has gained immense popularity because it can be safely and efficiently performed by allergy sufferers in the comfort of their own home, with the obvious benefit of less doctor’s office visit and no needles.
3. Combination antihistamine and steroid nasal sprays.
Research is emerging, supporting ‘combination’ nasal sprays as the most efficient first line treatment for hay fever. The antihistamine provides fast relief from sneezing, itching, watery eyes and runny nose, while the steroid prevents the ongoing inflammation in the lining of the nasal mucosa and nasal congestion (Scadding et al., 2013). Combination nasal sprays are available as a private script from your doctor.
This pollen season, should you develop hay fever, don’t leave your symptoms unmanaged. Seek the assistance of health professionals who understand allergies and can offer you the treatments you need to get the spring right back into your step!
The allergy trained general practitioners at the Australian Allergy Centre offer medicare rebatable skin prick tests for airborne allergens. Medicare rebatable consultations are available. Our clinic is located at Bella Vista. For more information or to book an appointment contact us on 1300 322 345.
Brehmer, D. 2010. Endonasal phototherapy with Rhinolight for the treatment of allergic rhinitis.Expert Review of Medical Devices 7, 1: 21-26. D’Amato, G., et al. 2015. Meteorological conditions, climate change, new emerging factors, and asthma and related allergic disorders. A statement of the World Allergy Organisation. WAO Journal 8, 25. Scadding, G., et al. 2013. A new therapy (MP29-02*) effectively controls nasal symptoms of seasonal allergic rhinitis irrespective of severity. Clinical and Transitional Allergy 3,(Suppl 2):016 DOI: 10 1186/2045-7022-3-S2-016 World Allergy Organisation [WAO]. 2016. http://www.worldallergy.org/physician-resources/world-allergy/world-allergy-week-2016