Hay Fever and Seasonal Allergies in Bloom
Published: 21 September 2017
Published: 21 September 2017
Seasonal allergies are expected to affect many Australians in spring. Allergic rhinitis (or hay fever) and asthma can be triggered by the increase of pollen in the air (Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy 2017).
Birds, bees and even the wind spread pollen grains over distances. According to the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (2017), most of the pollen that causes allergies is ‘produced by airborne pollen from northern hemisphere grasses, trees and weeds’. Interestingly, Australian native plants are less allergenic than some pasture grasses and exotic trees (ASCIA, 2017).
Other than exposure to pollen, allergic rhinitis can symptoms can also be caused by things like dust mites, house hold pets and mould growth. (National Asthma Council Australia 2016).
Allergic rhinitis can inflame asthma symptoms and be more difficult to control. Additionally, a large majority of around 80% of people with asthma have allergic rhinitis.
(ASCIA, 2017; National Asthma Council Australia, 2016)
Victoria’s south coast can get high pollen counts from the northerly winds bringing pollen from the grasslands. ASCIA (2017) highlights that eastern Australia is somewhat protected from westerly winds by the Great Dividing Range.
South Australia and Western Australia have varying pollen counts depending on the wind direction. Some of the grasses in southern Australian areas are grasses from the Northern Hemisphere that chiefly flower from October to December (ASCIA, 2017)
From late July to early August, the White Cypress Pine flowers and it is apparently the only Australian tree that has ‘highly allergenic pollen’ (ASCIA, 2017).
Interesting fact: Wattle gets blamed for lots of Spring allergies, but skin prick tests rarely indicate that this is actually to blame (ASCIA, 2017)! Lots of Casuarina and Australian Oak tree species lead to pollen-related year-round allergenic rhinitis – not just Spring allergies (ASCIA, 2017).
Treatment options (ASCIA, 2017) that should occur under the guidance of appropriate medical officers:
(ASCIA 2017;National Asthma Council Australia, 2016)
For further advice about hay fever, the National Asthma Council Australia recommends:
‘Talk to your doctor or pharmacist
Visit the National Asthma Council Australia website: nationalasthma.org.au
Contact your local Asthma Foundation: 1800 645 130 asthmaaustralia.org.au
Visit the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy website: allergy.org.au’
Madeline Gilkes, CNS, RN, is a Fellow of the Australasian Society of Lifestyle Medicine. She focused her master of healthcare leadership research project on health coaching for long-term weight loss in obese adults. In recent years, Madeline has found a passion for preventative nursing, transitioning from leadership roles (CNS Gerontology & Education, Clinical Facilitator) in hospital settings to primary healthcare nursing. Madeline’s vision is to implement lifestyle medicine to prevent and treat chronic conditions. Her brief research proposal for her PhD application involves Lifestyle Medicine for Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. Madeline is working towards Credentialled Diabetes Educator (CDE) status and primarily works in the role of Head of Nursing. Madeline’s philosophy focuses on using humanistic management, adult learning theories/evidence and self-efficacy theories and interventions to promote positive learning environments. In addition to her Master of Healthcare Leadership, Madeline has a Graduate Certificate in Diabetes Education & Management, Graduate Certificate in Adult & Vocational Education, Graduate Certificate of Aged Care Nursing, and a Bachelor of Nursing. See Educator Profile