Last Updated on: 23rd May 2022, 01:50 am
Itchy eyes, runny noses, and non-stop sneezing… Oh no, it is Hay Fever season again in Australia.
But fear not, as this article will help you prepare against hay fever.
What is Hay Fever?
Hay fever, commonly known as allergic rhinitis, is caused by allergens (mostly pollens). The symptoms of hay fever are triggered when pollen gets trapped in the lining of the eye or nose, releasing allergies.
Most allergens are considered benign. However, the body misrecognises them as being potentially harmful, similar to bacteria or viruses. The body will try to fight it off and expel it by producing mucus and tearing up of the eyes.
Hay fever is a seasonal allergic rhinitis that you will experience as we come in to spring to the early summer season. It typically starts around early September to October in Australia.
Hay Fever in Australia
Hay fever affects at least 1 in 5 people in Australia. Despite its name, it is not caused by hay and does not result in a fever.
This condition is best described as a reaction when the nose or mouth comes in contact with allergens that cause allergies. Most common allergens include pollen, dust mites, molds, or animal dander.
The common symptoms of hay fever are sneezing, having a runny or stuffy nose, an itchy throat, and watery eyes. While the less common symptoms are headaches and hives. Hay fever can also trigger asthma symptoms such as wheezing and breathlessness.
While the symptoms are not usually alarming, they can be serious in some people to the point that it affects their sleep and interferes with school and work.
Hay Fever Prevention
Although it is quite a challenge to avoid exposure to pollen and other allergens during springtime, there are several measures you can take to minimiwse exposure. Following these steps may ease the severity and provide some relief from your symptoms.
- Steer clear of things that cause you triggers. For example, cut down on potential allergens by keeping you home and surrounding clean. If cleaning is something that triggers your allergies, do no try to do it yourself.
- Wear a hat with a brim when going outside to protect your face and hair from allergens. Wash your face and hands immediately right after you go inside. Change your shirt and shower at night.
- Keep windows closed when at home or in your car. Take note that most pollens are released early in the morning and fall to the ground around the evening when the air cools.
- Give your immune system a boost by eating healthy and doing regular exercise.
Hay fever treatment
There is currently no permanent cure for hay fever. However, most people can relieve symptoms with First Aid treatment (to a certain extent).
The most effective way to control hay fever symptoms would be the following:
- Rinse irritated eyes with clean, running water. Doing so will provide immediate relief to the affected eye and will adequately flush out the pollen grains.
- Take antihistamine medications to alleviate swelling, irritation, and perpetual sneezing. Antihistamines should be at the top of your list of medicines to always have in your first aid kit. Store it in your home, as well as in your car.
- Consult a doctor or pharmacist. Ask recommendations for over-the-counter medications such as topical eye drops or cortisteroidal nasal spray to help soothe your eyes or nose.
- Moderate to severe symptoms may require you to get cleared by your doctor to use an intranasal steroid spray. These types of sprays are recommended for persistent cases of runny or blocked noses.
- If the symptoms evolve into an asthma attack or severe allergic reaction, you may need to perform lifesaving assistance such as CPR. Learn how to treat asthma and anaphylaxis by following general instructions or adhering to an anaphylaxis or asthma plan.
- For medical assistance, dial Triple Zero (000) or bring the victim to the nearest hospital or emergency room.
Combat Hay Fever Season in Australia with First Aid Training
Hay fever can have a significant impact on our sleep, concentration, learning, and day-to-day function. It is one of the most common disturbances in many Australians during springtime. But with an attitude of care and vigilance, we can combat the symptoms before it results to asthma and allergic attacks.
Knowing first aid will give you an edge over hay fever and other health risks that occurs during springtime.