Spring has sprung! Tips to prevent and treat hay fever
Spring is a wonderful time of the year. Warm weather, beautiful blossoming nature and heaps of outdoor activities to keep you in good spirits. It is also a time when opening the windows and letting some fresh air in, can be uncomfortable for some of us due to seasonal allergies.
Symptoms of hay fever
Hay fever occurs when the immune system is sensitive to certain allergens in the environment. When these environmental allergens come in contact with our eyes, nose, mouth and throat, the body shows symptoms of the allergic reaction. Despite the name, hay fever is not an allergic reaction to hay and it does not result in a fever. Here are some common symptoms of hay fever:
- Itchiness around eyes nose, throat and mouth
- Runny or blocked nose
- Sneezing and coughing
- Pain around temples and forehead
- Watery eyes
- Disturbed sleep
Tips for hay fever prevention
Reducing exposure to environmental allergens: pollens, air borne moulds, dust mites and animal dander, is instrumental in easing your symptoms. Here are a few tips to prevent hay fever.
Check pollen count
Pollen count is usually high around midmorning and early evening. Strong winds and thunderstorms can also blow pollens around. Check the pollen count or pollen forecast before heading outdoors.
Invest in a pollen filter
It is advisable to keep windows and doors closed when the pollen count is at its peak. A pollen filter for air vents in the car will help avoid triggers.
Be careful around pets
Pets can carry allergens in their fur. Wash your hands immediately after petting animals, especially if they have been outdoors. It is best to keep pets out of the house, particularly when symptoms are flaring up.
When cleaning the house or your desk at work, make sure to use a damp cloth to dust off windowsills, window coverings, ceiling fan blades and top surfaces. This ensures any allergens, if present, do not float around.
Wear a pollen mask
A pollen mask limits exposure to allergens when you are outdoors enjoying a social activity or performing routine tasks such as mowing the lawn or gardening.
Tips for hay fever treatment
Speak to your local TerryWhite Chemmart pharmacist about your symptoms and advice on treatment options. Below is a summary of the variety of treatment options available for hay fever.
Nasal sprays such as corticosteroid nasal sprays or antihistamine nasal sprays are one of the most effective treatment options for hay fever. They provide relief from itchiness and swelling in the lining of the nose. Saline nasal sprays help wash out the allergens from the nasal passage and provide relief from blocked or runny noses.
Antihistamine tablets or syrups
Antihistamine medications help with treating itching around the throat, nose, eyes and mouth. It is recommended to discuss with your local TerryWhite Chemmart pharmacist your work and lifestyle choices if you are looking for non-drowsy treatment options.
Antihistamine eye drops usually provide relief within a short time from watery and itchy eyes. Mast cell stabilisers are eye drops that are usually administered a couple of days prior to the start of the season to prevent symptoms. It is advised to wash hands thoroughly before using eye drops to avoid contamination. You must discuss with your doctor about using contact lenses while being treated with eye drops.
- It is best to take your hay fever medication on a regular basis throughout the season rather than only when your symptoms are playing up.
- If you are taking an antihistamine and notice that you still have hay fever symptoms in your eyes or your nose, it is safe to use eye drops and/or a nasal spray in addition to the antihistamine tablet.
With a little extra care, spring can still be enjoyable for hay fever sufferers. For the most suitable treatment advice, make sure to discuss with your local TerryWhite Chemmart pharmacist any existing medical conditions that you may have along with any lifestyle choices that may trigger hay fever symptoms.