The most important step in treating hay fever is correctly identifying the cause
Hay fever is the common name for a condition called allergic rhinitis, which means an allergy that affects the nose. Most people associate hay fever with spring, when airborne pollens from grasses are at their peak. However, hay fever can occur at any time of the year. This is known as perennial allergic rhinitis, which is usually caused by a reaction to allergens around the home, such as dust mites, moulds or animal hair or fur. With around one in five of us in Australia suffering from hay fever at some time, it’s perhaps the best-known and most common of all allergies. The prevalence of hay fever in Australia has almost doubled in the past 15 years.
Many of us suffer sneezes and sniffles when we’re gardening or cleaning the house, petting the cat or dog/cat, or at certain times of the year. Many of us suffer hay fever all too frequently. Symptoms often most important appear in childhood and adolescence.
Hay fever can exacerbate other respiratory conditions, such as asthma and sinusitis. It can even contribute to dental problems, which are five times more common in mouth breathers.
The allergens that can trigger hay fever include:
- dust mites, cockroaches and other insects
- contact with grasses and other plants
- pollens from grasses, trees and weeds
- contact with animals
- animal dander (flakes of fur or hair) and saliva
- mould spores
Once the allergen has been correctly identified, allergic rhinitis symptoms can be effectively managed and treated in a number of ways. Depending on the allergen, severity and frequency, there are many available treatment options from avoiding triggers, medication to desensitisation. Our doctors will discuss with you in more details.