Medical Conditions

Allergic Rhinitis (hayfever)

Allergic rhinitis (hayfever) is an allergic reaction affecting the nose.  An allergy occurs when the immune system in our body unnecessarily reacts to harmless substances and treats them as dangerous.  Normally the immune system protects us from the effects of hazardous substances which invade our body.  When we experience allergies, the body mistakenly protects us against substances that are actually innocent known as “allergens” or “triggers” such as pollen, grasses, dust mites or animal fur.  Most people associate hay fever with springtime (seasonal allergic rhinitis – usually caused by airborne pollens), however hay fever can occur at any time of the year (perennial allergic rhinitis – usually caused by allergens around the house such as dust mites or animals).

If you have hayfever, your body responds to the allergens by produces a substance called histamine which leads to inflammation in the nose. The associated symptoms include: 

  • Sneezing
  • Itchy nose
  • A runny or stuffy nose
  • Red, itchy or watery eyes
  • Headaches

The first step to avoiding hay fever is to avoid your allergens or triggers.  This can be very difficult! Some medications my help treat the symptoms of hayfever. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice.  You may be advised to try:

  • Combination antihistamine and corticosteroid nasal spray
  • Corticosteroid nasal sprays
  • Anti-histamine nasal spray
  • Oral anti-histamine medication
  • Anti-histamine or other types of eye drops
  • Decongestant nasal sprays
  • Immunotherapy

Even though “hayfever” sounds innocent it can affect your quality of life and ability to conduct your day to day tasks so should be taken seriously.  Follow your doctor / pharmacist instructions and take your medications appropriately.