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You can’t socially distance from pollen

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s the power of social distancing.

It’s a term that very few of us were familiar with before the outbreak of COVID-19 but has quickly made its way into our everyday conversations and thoughts. We know that social distancing continues to be one of the most effective ways of avoiding infection against coronavirus and other contagious viruses.

If only it were effective against hayfever!

Unlike the strain of virus that causes COVID-19, no amount of staying home or distancing yourself from others can prevent the symptoms of hayfever. These symptoms include:

● Sneezing

● Itchy eyes, nose and throat

● Puffy, watery eyes

● Nasal congestion

● Tiredness

● Thin water nasal discharge

Hayfever, also known as allergic rhinitis, occurs when tiny airborne particles of allergens stimulate the body to release a chemical called histamine. This chemical is designed to rid the body of the allergen and in doing so causes hayfever symptoms. These allergens are usually things like dust, sawdust, pet hair, cigarette smoke, and of course, pollen.

What is pollen?

Pollen is a very fine powder that’s produced by trees, flowers, grasses and weeds. Pollen is part of plants’ fertilisation process..

According to the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy, there are 25 plants in Australia that produce common allergenic pollen.

How does it spread?

Pollen is spread by insects like bees, butterflies and moths, as well as by birds and the wind. Pollen that travels in the wind can travel large distances from its source.

When is pollen season?

Different plants produce pollen at slightly different times, although some trees produce pollen year-round. For many plants that produce commonly allergenic pollen, the season tends to peak from late winter through spring.

How can I avoid pollen?

● Download the AusPollen app for your area, or visit https://www.pollenforecast.com.au/. These resources will help you to identify high-risk days and alter your plans if necessary.

● Keep the house and car windows closed, and fit the home and car air conditioning systems with an air-filtering system.

● Remove any plants that trigger your hay fever symptoms.

● Exercise indoors at an indoor pool or inside a gym, especially on high-pollen days.

How can I treat my hayfever symptoms?

Breathing in steam, whether from a hot shower or a humidifier, can help to relieve nasal congestion.

There are lots of options for treatment available from your local Capital Chemist pharmacy.

Antihistamines block the action of the histamine and help to relieve allergy symptoms including sneezing, a runny or itchy nose, and watery, puffy and itchy eyes. They are available as tablets, liquids, capsules, nasal sprays, and eye drops. Some antihistamines can make you drowsy, so if you’re looking for daytime relief, look for a non-drowsy formula.

Some products also contain a decongestant to relieve a blocked or runny nose. These products should generally only be used for a few days at a time, particularly decongestant nasal sprays which may cause rebound congestion.

People who suffer severe hayfever may need regular daily use of a corticosteroid nasal spray to reduce nasal inflammation and congestion. For some people, it’s recommended to use the spray for a few weeks during the hay fever season, while others who experience symptoms year-round may need to use them long-term. If using continually for more than six months, consult your pharmacist or doctor.

Some hayfever sufferers will experience pain in the sinus areas. This can be treated with an analgesic such as paracetamol, or an anti-inflammatory medicine like ibuprofen. A decongestant tablet or spray (see above) may be helpful in the short term.

Your Capital Chemist pharmacist can advise which products are right for you and your symptoms. Visit your local Capital Chemist, or give them a call to speak to your pharmacist.


You may also be interested in the following:

Hayfever triggers and how to avoid them
5 simple ways to keep springtime asthma at bay


  
 
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