A quarter of Australians suffer from allergies of some sort, and we have one of the highest rates of hayfever in the world - more than 5 million of us snuffle our way through the spring months every year. Hayfever – or to give it its proper name Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis - is caused by an allergy to pollen and causes symptoms that range from mild itchy eyes and a runny nose to full-blown congestion and wheeziness. Tree pollen is a trigger for some at this time of the year though many more are affected by the release of grass pollen. Histamines are to blame here – they’re the substances the body produces in response to allergic reactions. In the case of hayfever, suffers are allergic to pollen, either from trees or grass.
But there is a lot hayfever sufferers can do to help themselves through this miserable time. The best advice is not to treat hayfever lightly – make arrangements to minimise its effect:
Prepare for the season by stocking up on medication, such as antihistamines, corticosteroids, nasal sprays and decongestants and eye drops. Try a few to see what works best for you.
Before you go out, check the pollen count and reduce your exposure to the type of pollen that causes you a problem.