Hayfever treatment

Hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis afflicts up to 40% of Australians.

Allergic rhinitis can also occur all year round (perennial) with worsening symptoms during autumn and spring. It may be mild, or moderate to severe (affecting normal daily activities such as work, sleep and study), episodic or persistent (more than 4 days per week and more than 4 weeks at a time). It occurs as a result of allergies to things you breathe in; usually dust mites, grass pollen, mould and animal hair.

Allergic rhinitis occurs when there is an abnormal immune response to something in the environment (allergen).  This causes the symptoms of sneezing and an itchy, blocked and runny nose. Seven out of ten of people with allergic rhinitis also suffer from allergic conjunctivitis (inflamed itchy eyes).

What to do?

Allergen avoidance measures include wearing sunglasses, if you have allergic conjunctivitis, from a grass pollen allergy or asking someone else to vacuum regularly if you have a dust mite allergy. Reliable education and management information is provided by the ASCIA (Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy) website at allergy.org.au

Treat mild symptoms with non-sedating antihistamines such as Zyrtec (cetirizine) or Claratyne (loratadine), if you are only occasionally bothered by the symptoms.  However the majority of sufferers will need to use intranasal steroid sprays (eg. Nasonex, Avamys, Rhinocort). Regular use is safe and effective in managing your symptoms. Up to ten percent of individuals may have mild nasal irritation. You can use antihistamines in addition to the nasal steroid sprays safely.  These medications can be prescribed by your family doctor and a lower strength dose may be bought over the counter.  These steroid sprays should not be confused with decongestants such as Drixine and Otrivin which should not be used longer than three days.

Immunotherapy or desensitization may be effective and should be supervised by a trained allergist (specialist doctor) in conjunction with your family doctor. Immunotherapy is an option in those who have allergic rhinitis and where the symptoms are not controlled by medications or medication is intolerable due to the side effects.  Immunotherapy can also be used in children to reduce their chances of developing further allergies, and reduce their chance of developing asthma by approximately half.

Hay fever facts

There is no cure for hayfever

There is no magical cure for allergic rhinitis – don’t believe anyone who says this – apart from living in a bubble. The closest we have to a cure is immunotherapy under the supervision of a trained and experienced doctor. There are ways to manage the symptoms using regular intranasal steroid sprays such as Nasonex (mometasone), Avamys (fluticasone) or Rhinocort (budesonide).

Hay fever is a significant health issue

Allergic rhinitis causes about 1 in 50 visits to the doctor. Allergic disease (of which allergic rhinitis is by far the most common) costs Australia around $5.6 billion in lost productivity each year (Access Economics, 2007). Persistent, severe symptoms result in people being unproductive at work and having difficulty sleeping. Hay fever that is not properly controlled can contribute to a worsening of asthma.

Children do not grow out of hay fever

Children do not grow out of allergic rhinitis, if anything, they may become more allergic if symptoms are not controlled and can be more likely to develop asthma if symptoms are not adequately managed. Allergic rhinitis is common in children (from as young as 2 years old) and adults.

 

Recommended reading - Issue Sixteen Winter 2016

Recipes

10 ways to enjoy sweet potato

Bursting with flavour and vitamin goodness, sweet potato is a comforting veggie staple.

Read more
Experts

8 things you should know about preventing disease

How can you lower your risk of common health conditions?

Read more
Recipes

Roasted guinea fowl, brussels sprouts, baby beets and quince recipe

A deliciously juicy dish, full of flavour and colourful veggies.

Read more
Community

How your blood can change lives

Blood is a precious resource. Here's why we should all consider donating to people in need.

Read more
Experts

10 ways to reach your running goals

Go the distance and seamlessly achieve your running goals – while protecting your body from injury.

Read more
In Brief

CareComplete: Support for chronic health conditions

How Medibank helps members with chronic health conditions take positive steps forward every day.

Read more
Travel

The best bike-friendly cities

Discover the most bike-friendly cities of the world.

Read more
Community

The healthy food gap

There is not just a healthcare gap in Indigenous communities, but a healthy food gap too.

Read more
Lifestyle

The history of the stethoscope

Brilliant ideas often spring from unlikely places, like the playful history of the stethoscope

Read more
Experts

Caring for braces

Braces will be your best friend (once they’re off your teeth). Here’s a few tips for the meantime.

Read more
Community

Onsen Ma: Soaking and shiatsu

Healing steam from the Japanese mountains settles in the Melbourne laneways Onsen Ma.

Read more
Experts

Eating for a healthy heart

Make heart-friendly food choices for a healthy heart by following these simple guidelines.

Read more
Recipes

Lamb shank and vegetable soup recipe

Need a new soup recipe? This hearty lamb soup beckons with bursts of fresh vegies.

Read more
Lifestyle

Winter bike riding tips

Tour De France winner Cadel Evans tells you how to keep bike riding through the winter months.

Read more
Recipes

Spicy pumpkin and lentil soup recipe

Spice up your soup ideas this winter with a pumpkin and lentil soup inspired by Indian flavours.

Read more
Experts

What pro athletes really eat

Learn why you don't need to make drastic life changes to eat a healthy, balanced diet.

Read more
Experts

Laser eye surgery alternatives

Laser surgery not an option? Here are some alternatives.

Read more
Recipes

Corn fritters with tangy tomato salsa recipe

These cajun-flavoured corn fritters with tomato salsa will freshen up your weeknight routine.

Read more
Lifestyle

Healthy school lunchbox ideas

Healthy kids are happy kids with this innovative school lunch ideas.

Read more
Experts

A guide to good guts

Protecting your gut bacteria with healthy food is vital to overall health.

Read more
Experts

What are macronutrients?

So what exactly are macronutrients? We've got the lowdown.

Read more
Lifestyle

7 easy ways to get active in winter

Take a look at a list of activities to keep your heart racing during the dreary winter months

Read more
Recipes

Curried cauliflower salad recipe

A curried cauliflower salad recipe for something a little fancy.

Read more
Recipes

Lentil soup recipe

Lentil-based dishes like this red lentil soup are not only delicious but are packed with goodness.

Read more
Experts

The best immunity-boosting foods

Want to avoid the dreaded flu this winter? Try these immunity-boosters to strengthen your defenses.

Read more
Recipes

Chicken and white bean casserole recipe

Try this fresh and protein-packed chicken and white bean casserole with pasta or extra vegies.

Read more
Experts

10 tips for diabetes-friendly food

Top ten food tips to manage or prevent diabetes and enjoy a healthy life.

Read more
Community

Hit 100: Diabetes-friendly eating made easy

Hit 100 takes the frustration out of diabetes-friendly eating for a happier, healthier life.

Read more
Recipes

Pea and ham soup recipe

Try this take on a classic soup by seasoning with Himalayan pink salt.

Read more
Experts

10 things you need to know about the body

Our bodies are complex, mysterious, miraculous things. Dr Bridie O'Donnell tells us how they tick.

Read more
Lifestyle

Your quick-start guide to running training

Whether you're gearing up for a marathon or your first 5 km, prepare your mind, body and wardrobe.

Read more
Experts

How to build mental resilience

Life has a habit of testing our limits - mental resilience is your chance to bounce back.

Read more
Experts

Exercise for mental health treatment

Anxiety and depression can be exhausting, but exercise is one fantastic way of fighting back.

Read more

For full functionality of this site it is necessary to enable JavaScript. Here are instructions on how to enable JavaScript in your web browser.