Allergy and hay fever are very common in Australia, affecting around one third of the population at some time during their lives.
Symptoms & Treatments
Allergy and hay fever
It may seem like a trivial ailment, but suffering from an allergy can have a huge impact on people’s everyday lives, ranging from being a mild annoyance to a debilitating condition for some. Allergy and hay fever affects men and women alike, although those aged 15-25 often experience more severe allergy symptoms, while people who live in urban regions are more likely to suffer allergy or hay fever than those who live in rural areas1. The economic impact of this is significant, not to mention the effect an allergy can have on overall health.
Common allergy and hay fever symptoms and available treatments
The most common allergy and hay fever symptoms include sneezing, a runny nose and itchy eyes. Some allergy sufferers also experience an itchy nose or throat and watery eyes.
Studies in immunology have shown that one way to treat allergy is through immunotherapy – the slow introduction of allergens into the body’s system. Gradually, the body builds a tolerance to these allergens until it becomes fully immune to them and the allergy no longer exists.2 An alternative to immunotherapy is to control your allergy symptoms by taking antihistamines or other allergy and hay fever medication. You could also consider implementing lifestyle changes such as the ones below to cope with allergy symptoms.
How allergy and hay fever affect our daily lives
Leaving allergy and hay fever symptoms untreated can have a serious effect on our quality of life. People who suffer from hay fever often have poor sleep, which can cause heightened fatigue during the daytime and even lead to missed days from school and work. In addition to this, other chronic respiratory conditions such as allergy asthma, and skin disorders such as eczema, can be made worse by allergy and hay fever.3
Lifestyle changes to help you tackle allergy and hay fever
- Reduce stress – engage in regular exercise and aim to get 6-8 hours sleep each night. In studies, people with higher stress levels often report more severe allergy and hay fever symptoms.1
- Get outdoors – while you should try to avoid going outside when there’s a high pollen count (usually during early morning and evening) it’s important to expose yourself to plenty of fresh air in order to maintain a healthy immune system.1
- Eat well – a balanced diet with plenty of variation will help boost your immune system.1
- Minimise alcohol consumption – alcohol dehydrates you and can cause your allergy symptoms to flare up.1
Additional tips to help you cope with allergy and hay fever
- Carry tissues, water and any allergy medications you may need with you at all times – Kleenex Aloe Vera tissues and Pocket Packs are the perfect aid to cope with your symptoms on the go.
- Avoid hanging clothes outside on high-pollen count days – pollen may stick to the fabric and aggravate your allergy and hay fever symptoms.1
- Keep windows closed – try to keep doors and windows shut when you’re at home or at work.1
- Avoid smoky areas – smoke irritates your respiratory passages and can make your allergies worse.1
- Keep a diary – track what kinds of pollen you are allergic to and make a note of your allergy symptoms, compare it to a pollen calendar.
- Talk to your GP – your doctor or pharmacist can give you more information about the best medication or treatments for your allergy.1
1. The Hay Fever Health Report 2010, Jean Emberlin
2. MyDr, Dr Michael Jones 2009, http://www.mydr.com.au/allergy/immunotherapy-treatment-for-hay-fever
3. AllergyNet Australia, Dr John Weiner 2010, http://www.allergynet.com.au/cgi-bin/contray/contray.cgi?ID=000004&GROUP=009&DATA==
4. Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy 2010, http://www.allergy.org.au/content/view/111/124/