• Dr Majella Soumakiyan

What is hay fever (allergic rhinitis)

Updated: Jan 21

Hay fever in simple terms means the allergy that's associated with the nose.; It doesn't have anything to do with hay nor causes fever. Hay fever is caused by nose or eyes being exposed some form of allergens. Allergens can as common as sudden increase in pollen count (seasonal allergies), grass allergy, dust mites, mould or animal hair.



For most people, hay fever is due to seasonal allergies due to change in seasons like Spring. Others have symptoms all around the year due to certain environmental conditions like mould or animal fur.


According to Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) , hay fever affects 18% of the population in Australia and New Zealand


Impact of hay fever

Hay fever has significant impact on people's lives and leads to loss of attendance to schools and workplaces. We can all relate to how hard it is to focus on work and irritation it causes in our lives.


Signs of hay fever

In most cases symptoms include on or more of the following

  • Runny nose.

  • Itchy nose.

  • Sneezing.

  • Itchy, watery eyes.

There are also obstructive signs or symptoms like congested nose and snoring and in some cases leads to sleep disturbance, daytime tiredness and recurrent ear infection in kids


How can your GP help ?

First of all your GPs can request for blood tests (e.g. RAST test) and carry out an allergy test. There will be able to explore many hay fever treatment options like changes to your lifestyle, medication for immediate relief, natural remedies for hayfever, identify association with other reactions like food allergies or even identify suitability for immunotherapy through an immunologist.

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