Spring fever

Spring is here and as well as bringing longer, sunnier days, the warmer breezes also tend to blow in springtime fevers.

One in five Australians suffers from allergic rhinitis, commonly known as hay fever. Though not restricted to spring, symptoms of hay fever are caused by the excess pollen particles from trees, flowers and grass floating around in the air, penetrating the airways of the lung. Symptoms include a runny nose, watery and itchy eyes, throat and ears, and nasal congestion.

Native Australian trees and flowers produce little pollen. Interestingly, most of the reactionary pollen comes from exotic, imported trees, such as the White Cypress Murray Pine, which flowers in late July, and grasses, such as perennial ryegrass and couch or Bermuda grass.

How to combat allergic rhinitis:

  • take antihistamine tablets, nose sprays and eye drops, or in severe cases, steroids
  • avoid pollen release peak periods, which according to doctors are during 7 to 9 am and 4 to 6 pm
  • shower after you’ve been outdoors during peak pollen-release periods
  • avoid smoky environments, perfumes and insect sprays, household chemicals and other irritants
  • allergy-proof your home, especially during spring. Clean dust in carpets, bedding, furniture, and mould from the kitchen and bathroom.

Another allergy which crops up around springtime is atopic dermatitis. Present in adults and particularly children, eczema can lay dormant during the winter months and appear when it starts to get warmer, when the body adjusts to the changing weather. Eczema can be triggered by a vast range of things, from dry skin, bacterial infection, food intolerances, temperature changes, and inhalant allergens, spurred by hay fever.

How to combat atopic dermatitis:

  • avoid chemical-based irritants such as soaps, perfumes and moisturisers
  • use a topical steroid cream from the pharmacy
  • apply wet dressings. As eczema-affected skin dries out and becomes cracked, applying a wet bandage soaked in warm water for 15 minutes can offer relief to itching and pain.
  • avoid scratching, which will make the eczema flare up and worsen.

Find out more about allergic rhinitisat and atopic dermatitis the Australian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy.

Do you have your own tips for combating springtime allergies? Please share them with us.


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