The arrival of spring brings blossoms and warmer weather — but it’s not all sunshine and sunflowers. If you’re part of the 20% of New Zealanders affected, you’ll know all too well that spring is the season when hayfever hits hardest.
Part of effectively managing your hayfever is having a good grasp on what it is, how it’s caused and some of the things you can do to avoid hay fever triggers.
What is hayfever?
Hayfever is another name for seasonal allergic rhinitis.. It happens when the body identifies particles in the air as being harmful. In response, your body overreacts in an effort to defend itself, producing anti-inflammatory compounds like histamine and leukotrienes, which cause the sneezing, itching, runny nose and watery eyes.
What causes it?
Common allergens include pollen, dust, pet hair, cigarette smoke, perfume, and mould or fungi. There tends to be more pollen in the air from plants during spring, which is why you may suffer from more severe symptoms during this time.
What are the symptoms?
If you have hayfever, you may experience one or more of these symptoms:
- Congestion or a runny nose
- Itchy and/or watery eyes
If left untreated, these symptoms can be uncomfortable and lead to irritability, poor sleep and difficulty focusing.
Hayfever or Cold?
Although the symptoms of hay fever and the symptoms of a cold can feel similar, the biggest difference is that a cold will cause a fever and body aches. Treatments for both condition are also very different.
How is it treated?
There are a number of effective over-the-counter treatments that your pharmacist can recommend to relieve your symptoms. These include nasal sprays, eye drops, and antihistamine medications. Speak to your pharmacist about which products are right for you.
Prevention is better than cure.
If you have recurring hayfever consider regular (daily) use of an anti-inflammatory nasal spray nasal spray to keep stop symptoms from getting out of control. You can still top-up with an antihistamine tablet if you need to when things get bad.