Hay fever is one of the most underrated annoyances. And now spring is here, hay fever is right around the corner. And around 3 million of us Aussies are about to get hit by it. However, there is no need to jump straight for the nasal sprays and anti-hay fever tablets. There are a few ways you can avoid triggering your symptoms this spring. Christian Farrington from Health Direct recommends the following.
- When the pollen count is high, keep windows and doors closed at home.
- Do your dusting with a damp cloth, rather than a dry one, to better collect the dust and stop any pollen from being spread around.
- Avoid fresh flowers if that’s the cause of your symptoms. Consider planting a low-allergen garden around your home and remove any weeds or trees if you are sensitive to them.
- Keep pets out of the house when your symptoms flare-up. If your pet does come inside, wash them regularly to remove any allergens from their fur.
- Don’t smoke or let other people smoke in your house. Smoking and breathing in other people’s smoke will irritate the lining of your nose, eyes, throat and airways, and can make your symptoms worse.
On the move
- Keep the windows up and consider buying a pollen filter for air vents and use recirculating air-conditioning in the car.
- If your trigger is grass, avoid mowing, playing or walking in grassy areas, and camping. If you have to do so, wear a mask or take a non-drowsy antihistamine.
- Try not to go outside until after midday, especially when the pollen count is high, it’s windy or after thunderstorms. You can check today’s pollen count on Weatherzone (www.weatherzone.com.au) or the pollen forecast
- Change your clothes and take a shower after being outdoors to remove the pollen on your body.
- If possible, avoid drying clothes outside. This will help prevent bringing pollen into your house.
- Wear wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen getting into your eyes when you are outdoors. Rinse your eyes when you get home.
- If your hay fever is due to allergens in your workplace, you should advise your employer of this fact so that you can work together to reduce your exposure.
- Not sure if it’s hay fever or something more serious? Take this quick symptom check and advice and information about what to do next.
Setting the record straight
Jimmy Turner from the Royal Botanic Gardens of Sydney wants to set a record straight. Flowers aren’t to blame for your hay fever. “Pollen on flowering plants usually travel no more than a few inches by wind and these plants rely on butterflies, bees and other pollinators to move their pollen from plant to plant. The true cause of our allergies is mostly from wind-pollinated grasses and trees, and the one that may be causing your head to feel like it is going to explode maybe thousands of kilometres away from your home’ he explains. ‘It’s easy to blame flowers because you’ve most likely never noticed ryegrass, couch or other grasses in bloom. The large tree culprits you need to be aware of as well include the London plane, oak, pines and she-oaks’.
So there you have it – don’t go around cursing at your neighbour’s beautiful, blooming wattles and frangipanis, they are innocent.