23 Oct

Allergy & Hay Fever

tall grass

Hay fever is a common name for allergic rhinitis where people get allergic reactions of the eyes, nose, and throat.

Allergic rhinitis splits into 2 types: perennial and seasonal. Perennial allergic rhinitis occurs the whole year round. This is typically caused by allergens such as house dust mites, animal dander and mould. Seasonal allergic rhinitis tends to happen around the same time each year. This is often during spring and summer, and is commonly caused by pollen.

Signs and symptoms

When an allergen enters your nose, eyes and throat, your immune system activates mast cells. This in turn releases histamine and can cause the following signs and symptoms that people commonly describe as allergies:

  • Stuffy and blocked nose – potentially affecting the sense of smell and may lead to headaches due to blocked sinuses
  • Watery, runny, and itchy nose
  • Sneezing
  • Red, itchy, puffy, and watery eyes
  • Itchy inner ear
  • Itchy or burning feeling in the roof of the mouth or throat – with a cough or wheeze in severe situations

Do you get any of the above on a regular basis and have already tried your typical over the counter medications? Talk to your Doctor or a ZOOM Pharmacist now to discuss other treatment options.

Treatment options

  • Antihistamines – blocks the action of histamines that are released by the mast cells when you are exposed to allergens. Sometimes it may take up to 2-3 days before you experience allergic symptoms from initial exposure to the allergen
  • Decongestants – short term symptomatic relief of blocked, congested nose and puffy eyes. Typically, not used for more than 3-5 days. This is due to the potential for rebound congestion: ask your ZOOM Pharmacist for specific details and more information
  • Nasal corticosteroids – for people that experience moderate to severe symptoms. Especially for those with perennial allergic rhinitis that happens the whole year round. This class of medication may take from a few days up to 2 weeks to have full effect. They must be used on a regular basis for prevention of hay fever. People typically start this type of medication 2 weeks before they are scheduled to suffer from hay fever
  • Immunotherapy – a doctor can inject a small amount of allergen into your body. This can help strengthen your immune system. It will reduce the reaction your body has to the same allergen in the future

Check out allergy related medicines on the ZOOM Pharmacy shop.

Self-care

  • Keep an allergy diary and know your triggers
  • Try to avoid things that you know that you are allergic to ie: flowers, grass pollen and plants
  • Keep your home and car windows closed on windy days during pollen season (August – March)
  • Increase the frequency of cleaning and vacuuming to reduce house dust mites 

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