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:
nose and throat
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
What is pollen?
Pollen is a very fine powder that’s
produced by trees, flowers, grasses and weeds. Pollen is part of plants’
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
How can I avoid pollen?
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.
house and car windows closed, and fit the home and car air conditioning systems
with an air-filtering system.
plants that trigger your hay fever symptoms.
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.