Hayfever is a common name for allergic reactions of the eyes, nose, and throat – and there has been important news with MetService’s pollen forecaster announcing the yearly pine pollen release could be near.
Dr David Fountain says “It’s the yellow dust that drops out of the air onto your car bonnets, onto windscreens. It’s on the early side – sometimes it doesn’t start until mid-August.
It starts at the top of the country, so Auckland, Northland, Waikato and then down towards the volcanic plateau in a week or two.”
And he believes the South Island could be hit in about four weeks.
Signs & symptoms of hayfever
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
- 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
Hayfever 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: talk to one of our ZOOM Pharmacists 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
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- New Zealand about to be hit with a pollen explosion – Newshub
- Hay fever – Health Navigator New Zealand
- Hay fever (allergic rhinitis) – Southern Cross