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Allergic Rhinitis (Hay Fever)

Allergic Rhinitis is more commonly referred to as hay fever and is an inflammation of the nasal passages -  usually caused by an allergic reaction to particles in the air.

No longer believed to have anything to do with Hay or a Fever, Allergic Rhinitis (Latin for "swollen nose") can be seasonal or year round and is usually blamed on pollen, grasses, weeds and trees.

Allergens responsible for Hay Fever include

  • pollen from trees, grasses and ragweed
  • mould
  • house dust and dust mites
  • cigarette smoke
  • strong odors
  • alcholic beverages
  • cold

Hay fever commonly causes:

  • watery eyes, 
  • sneezing, 
  • itchy nose, mouth, eyes, throat, skin
  • runny or stuffed up nose
  • scratchy mouths, noses or sore throats,
  • headache 

Diagnosis of Allergic Rhinitis is usually done by your doctor and involves them examining the inside of your nose in a painless examination that checks for redness and other signs of inflammation. 

Determination of the allergen responsible requires additional testing  - see Diagnosis 

While avoidance of allergens is the ideal treatment it is often not possible. You should try to

  • stay indoors with the windoes closed during the morning hours when pollen levels are at their highest
  • keep car windows up while driving and consider using re-circulated air in the car when pollen counts are high
  • keep house windows closed during windy conditions in pollen season
  • clean air conditioner filters regularly
  • dust and clean floors and walls with a damp cloth/mop
  • vacuum regularly
  • smear petroleum jelly (like Vaseline) inside your nose when you are outdoors - this can help to trap pollen and stops it reaching the inner lining of your nose
  • avoid lawn mowing and other activities that are likely to stir up outdoor allergens
  • wear sunglasses and frequently splash your eyes with water
  • shower after playing outdoor sport - removes odour as well as allergens!
  • wash pets regularly or avoid animal dander
  • wash hands after contact

When symptoms occur Antihistamines work well to treating them. They can be purchased over the counter and newer forms cause little or no drowsiness.


 

Additional Resources: 

AUSTRALIASIAN SOCIETY OF CLINICAL IMMUNOLOGY AND ALLERGY (ASCIA)
Treatment Plan 
Pollen Types

CHOICE
Hay Fever Medication and Treatment review

MEDICATION
Zyrtec
Claratyne
Telfast