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5 tips to survive hay fever season

With spring just around the corner, hay fever season is imminent. And if you’re one of the unlucky sufferers, it’s probably not your favourite time of year. 

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), one in five Australians will suffer from hay fever. That’s more than four million people nationwide. And apologies to those in the capital state, but the ACT recorded the highest rate of hay fever sufferers with 26 per cent in the year 2014-15, followed by Tasmania with 23 per cent.

What can you do to alleviate the symptoms associated with hay fever? Here are some handy tips so you can enjoy the spring time.

1. Understand why you’re experiencing it

In simple terms, your body is exposed to particular pollens in the air, triggering an allergic response. These pollens are mostly around in spring and summer, which is why the two warmer seasons are most commonly associated with hay fever.

Depending on where you live in Australia, the levels of airborne pollen differ dramatically, due to the different climates around the country. For example, Melbourne has a temperate climate so the pollen season is short but intense. Comparably, Adelaide has a temperate pollen season in spring, but a secondary peak in summer.

Of course, the reason hay fever hits so hard in spring and summer is because the trees, flowers and grass start releasing pollen into the air as they grow.

2. Prevention is key

While it’s probably impossible to avoid grass, trees and flowers all day every day, there are some times of the day that are worse than others. According to doctors, the hours between seven and nine in the morning and four and six in the evening are the worst when it comes to pollen production, so if you can, stay indoors.

Additionally, weather apps and weather reporters will generally give a pollen update during these peak months. If the pollen degree is high, and you don’t need to go out, don’t.

 3. Stock up on supplies

Most treatments for hay fever don’t require a script from a doctor. Nasal sprays and oral antihistamines will do wonders for your symptoms so always make sure you have some handy. According to the AIHW, if you suffer from persistent hay fever, nasal spray should be your first line of defence. If you simply get mild, intermittent hay fever, the antihistamines are better. Just remember to opt for the non-drowsy varieties. And if you suffer with itchy eyes, always have saline drops around. If you need something stronger, there are topical antihistamine options.

4. Use native plants

If you have a choice, plant native plants in your garden rather than exotic varieties. Contrary to most people’s belief, most of the pollen doesn’t actually come from Australian native plants. Instead, these rely on bees and birds to transport their pollen, rather than the wind. It’s actually the imported grass, which happens to be the most popular, that produces the most amount of pollen.

5. The simple things

Finally, there are some simple things around the house that you can do to ensure you’re prepared for hay fever season. On days when the pollen count is high, dry the laundry inside. At the end of the day, wash your face, hands and hair very well before you go to bed. This will help remove any pollen that may have collected during the day. Also, immediately discard clothing into the laundry hamper.