Hay Fever

November 9, 2016

HAY FEVER

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.  

SYMPTOMS:

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

 

CAUSES:

  • Pollen (particularly grass pollen)
  • Dust
  • Dander
  • Mould
  • Dust mites
  • Fungal spores
  • Smoke

January 7, 2016

Corticosteroids are powerful anti-inflammatory drugs that help to suppress the immune system. These drugs are effective in treating many ailments, particularly autoimmune diseases, and have been used effectively for many years. Corticosteroids (cortisol, corticosterone, cortisone, and aldosterone) are produced naturally in the body by the Cortex, which is the outer portion of the adrenal gland, and can be broken down into two categories:

  1. Glucocorticoids: These act to suppress the immune system and lessen inflammation, while also assisting in the breakdown of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins
  2. Mineralocorticoids: These regulate the balance of salt and water in the body

Synthetic corticosteroids mimic the actions of naturally occurring corticosteroids and are often used as a replacement in people with dysfunctional adrenal glands which are unable to produce adequate amounts of the chemicals. Systemic corticosteroids refer to corticosteroids given orally, or via injection, and distributed throughout the body. These do not include corticosteroids used in the eyes, ears, nose, on the skin, or that are inhaled. Examples of synthetic corticosteroids:

  • Betamethasone
  • Budesonide
  • Cortisone
  • Hydrocortisone