I am one of the three million Australians who suffer from hay fever. Every time springtime arrives so does the runny nose, itchy eyes and constant sneezing and wheezing as my body’s immune system goes to battle with allergies.

Hay fever or seasonal allergic rhinitis as some people call it is caused by common allergens in particular airborne pollen from flowers, trees and grasses, and can affect people all year round however springtime is hay fever time for me. Although not generally regarded as a serious condition, hay fever can severely affect your quality of life by interfering with your ability to work, sleep, exercise and socialise. I was once admitted to hospital (beginning of Springtime) after experiencing a rush engulf my body from my toes to my head ending in a massive headache, this sparks all kinds of concerns ending with the doctor concluding you have very bad sinus, in other words hay fever.

There appears to be no exact day I am going to suffer from the symptoms of hay fever, probably because the pollen levels on any given day are affected by temperature, humidity and the speed and direction of the wind. I have even felt the time of day can have a bearing on the symptoms of hay fever, as plants flower early in the day, making pollen counts particularly high between dawn and mid-morning.

My question is why me? Well I am told firstly, hay fever only affects people who have a tendency towards allergies (yet I am not allergic to insects), which occur when the body (immune system) has an exaggerated response to a substance that is normally tolerated by the body. These substances known as allergens initiate an immune response causing certain cells in the nose and eyes to release inflammatory histamines. These histamines inflame and irritate membranes of the nose and eyes causing a typical allergic response including blocked noses, runny noses, sneezing, and coughing and eye itchiness, among others.

Secondly, for hay fever to strike, you must be exposed to or come into contact with an allergen. Therefore to reduce the symptoms of hay fever you need to avoid exposure as much as possible. So I have put together some tips for minimising the contact, to reduce the symptoms and put some normality back into my life, these include:

Number one – avoid going outdoors on particularly high wind days when the pollen count is generally high, some online weather site can provide this if you are internet savvy!

Number two – look at what is growing in your garden, and designing your garden in a way that minimises grasses and plant pollen; however I my case it is not what grows in my garden it is more what grows in the neighbours garden!

Number three – pollens/ dust can hide in carpets and rugs so we have removed all carpets from the house and now live on polished floor boards and tiles.

Number four – Maintain a dust free house, (dust mites contribute to hat fever) yes this means cleaning more regularly, vacuuming frequently to prevent any build-up of dust, as well as washing bedding and furnishing regularly

Number five – choosing your pets carefully, animals that loses lots of hair aren’t ideal for hay fever sufferers, however if you do washing them and their bedding regularly may reduce the symptoms.

Number six – first thing in the morning and throughout the day wash away the pollen from your eyes in other words continually rinsing your eyes, not only does it refresh you, it helps flush away pollen particles.

Number seven – Boost your immune system. We have always taken vitamin C, for colds, and from research it known to decrease histamine levels, and possible reduce symptoms. Horseradish contains compounds that may reduce respiratory congestion, possibly reducing running noses. And finally due to the fact that congested sinuses are a breeding ground for bacteria, I have had ear infection from time to time, so it was suggested to me garlic may prevent this because of its antimicrobial properties and like vitamin C also has immunostimulant properties in other words an agent that stimulates the immune system.

Above all don’t stress, stress can cause your immune system to function below its optimal level, hay fever for me is a seasonal condition, and I know it will ease after a few weeks, so I spend most weekends at the beach in clear air and lots of salt water that also works wonders for the sinuses.


Alibi Training Australia and Paul E Milne make every effort to insure that this information is medically accurate and up-to-date. However, the information contained in this article is intended to complement, not substitute for proper medical consultation and care.