It’s that time of year again. Spring has sprung, the flowers are fresh and the bees are having the time of their lives. You know who’s not having the time of their life, though? People with hay fever. Nearly 1 in 5 (or 4.6 million) Australians experienced hay fever in 2017-2018 (and counting) so there’s certainly no shortage of people battling allergies.
Warm, windy weather is known for making hay fever symptoms worse because pollens are in free flow (making spring a tricky time for people with allergies). If you’re not sure what pollens are, they’re a fine powder from plants that can cause an allergic reaction in some people when it comes into contact with the nose, throat and mouth. Hay fever can also be caused by an allergic reaction to house dust, pets and fungi.
What are the symptoms of hay fever?
People with hay fever can experience a multitude of symptoms but the most common ones are usually things like sneezing, coughing, watery eyes, itchy throat, runny/blocked nose and headaches.
For people with asthma, hay fever symptoms can be worse, causing shortness of breath, wheezing and a tight feeling in the chest. If you’re experiencing any of these, it’s best to see a doctor.
So, can you actually prevent it?
If you’ve caught yourself blowing through yet another packet of tissues this spring, you might’ve wondered if there’s any cure or prevention for hay fever. Sadly at this stage, there isn’t.
It’s not all bad news, though. There are products available to help control symptoms including nasal sprays (to reduce inflammation in the nose), antihistamines (for sneezing and irritated eyes) and decongestants (for blocked noses). As with anything health-related, you should speak with your doctor before making any changes or taking new medication.
While there’s no magic pill to stop you from getting hay fever, there are some things you can do to minimise your symptoms. We’ve outlined a few below.
How can you minimise hay fever symptoms?
- Put Vaseline around your nostrils to trap pollen
- When the pollen count is high (which you can check here) keep your windows and doors shut as much as possible
- Vacuum your home regularly
- Wear wraparound sunglasses to avoid getting pollen in your eyes
- Shower and change your clothes after being outside to wash off any pollen
- Avoid drying your clothes outside
- Wash your pets regularly to remove allergens from their fur
- Avoid camping and walking in grassy areas if grass is a trigger for you
- Buy a pollen filter for the air vents in your car so you can use the air conditioning without extracting pollens from outside