Allergic rhinitis, aka hay fever

Spring is hay fever season for about 1.2 million kiwis.

Despite the name, hay fever is almost never triggered by hay; and it doesn’t produce a fever. The scientific name for the condition is ‘allergic rhinitis’ and it is most commonly seasonal.

Typical triggers include tree pollen (usually in spring), weed pollen (in autumn), grass pollen (common in late spring and summer).  Spores from fungi and moulds (which tend to be worse during warm weather) are also a trigger. Spring leads to higher pollen counts, especially from trees. This is why we see such a rise in symptoms from September through till the end of November.

Allergy NZ provides a useful pollen calendar that may help you identify what plant is triggering your reaction; see http://goo.gl/AqmJFH.

Non-seasonal allergic rhinitis can also be triggered by domestic animals (especially from dried skin flakes and saliva), along with spores and dust mites. The condition can represent a very real hazard for people who also suffer from asthma.

You cannot cure hay fever. That said, a trip to your doctor can help identify the triggers to avoid. This process will also help determine the most effective medication.  This be it antihistamines, corticosteroid nasal sprays, decongestants or a combination of products. More: http://goo.gl/HSQDWE.

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