Hay Fever

November 9, 2016


Scientifically known as Allergic Rhinitis, hay-fever affects about 1 in 5 people in Australia, and roughly 500 million people worldwide. It is defined as an allergy that affects the nose, and occurs when the insides of the nose become inflamed due to the over sensitised immune system reacting to certain substances which the body sees as a threat. This swelling is due to the release of histamines and other chemicals in the body.

The majority of hay fever sufferers have found that their condition is worse at night. This is because night time is the worst time for pollen levels, or because the pillow on which they sleep may be full of dust mites (approximately 50 000 dust mites live in the average pillow).

Hay fever can trigger asthma attacks as the level of inflammatory chemicals released from hay fever reactions increases, and causes muscle spasms and swelling in wider ranging mucous membranes.



  • Mucous discharge
  • Sneezing
  • Itchiness
  • Congestion and blocked nose
  • Eye irritation
  • Watery eyes
  • Sinus pain
  • Throat itchiness
  • Snoring
  • Headaches



  • Pollen (particularly grass pollen)
  • Dust
  • Dander
  • Mould
  • Dust mites
  • Fungal spores
  • Smoke
  • Air pollution
  • Weather
  • Food sensitivities
  • Certain cosmetics such as make up and perfumes
  • Children who have not been exposed to pets in the first year of their lives have an increased risk of developing hay fever
  • Certain medications can trigger hay fever
  • Genetics plays a role in an individual’s predisposition



Hay fever is diagnosed by certain allergy tests such as prick tests, patch tests, and blood tests.



  • Aeroallergen minimisation: This involves minimizing exposure to certain allergens, particularly those that are airborne
  • Antihistamines: These medications reduce the amount of histamine chemicals produced and therefore reduce the symptoms of hay fever. You can get antihistamine tablets, syrups, or even eye drops
  • Intranasal corticosteroid nasal sprays: These reduce inflammation and need to be used regularly as a preventative
  • Decongestant sprays: These are used to unblock the nose, and should only be used for a few days
  • Allergen immunotherapy (desensitization): This involves regularly exposing the person to increasingly larger doses of the allergen (extracts) via injection, or sublingual drops or tablets. This treatment is usually ongoing for 3-5 years