While many of us look forward to seeing Spring blossom and warmer, sunny days, for many the “hay fever and allergy season” is approached with dread. But there are a number of practical, routine steps you can take for yourself and/or your family members that can help ease this seasonal discomfort.

Allergic rhinitis (commonly referred to as “hay fever”) is caused by allergens which occur in the environment; it makes them difficult to totally avoid but there are some routines you can adopt to reduce their impact.

With small children it is sometimes difficult to distinguish the difference between allergic rhinitis and a cold. Whilst it is always recommended that you seek medical advice if symptoms worsen or persist, these simple steps may make a significant difference in reducing the impact of allergic rhinitis in your home.

Hay Fever Hygiene

  • Shake out or brush down clothing outside to prevent airborne pollens entering your home.
  • Wash hands and face with cool water to remove pollen adhered to the skin.
  • Brush hair before entering your home to help remove pollens and allergens before they too enter your home and are deposited on soft furnishings and carpets. By removing pollens and allergens from the head and face this may also reduce the opportunity for them to enter sensitive sinuses.

Allergic rhinitis can impact sleep quality, so these hay fever hygiene tips are especially important towards the end of the day. With a good night’s sleep, we can all operate at our best, but a bad night’s sleep, especially for children, can impact negatively on the whole family.

“Hay fever season” and a rejuvenating sleep need not be mutually exclusive.

Sleep Hygiene

  • Wash hands and face before going to bed.
  • Better still, a quick shower will eliminate as much lingering pollen as possible before bed.
  • If congestion is present, place an extra pillow under the mattress at the head of the bed. Elevating the head may help drain congestion from sinus passages, enabling a less interrupted sleep.
  • Wash bedding weekly at 60 degrees Celsius to help eliminate dust mites and plant pollens from clothing as well as bedding. If a hot water wash is not feasible, The Australian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) recommends using products containing eucalyptus or tea tree oil to help eliminate dust mites in cold water washes.
  • Prevent the deposit of fresh layers of pollens and allergens on freshly washed clothing, bedding and towels by drying these items inside (or in a clothes dryer).
  • Ensure bedrooms are pet free zones to reduce the likelihood of pet dander triggering a reaction.
  • If your child has soft toys that live in their bedroom, pay particular attention to their cleanliness and location in relation to the bed. Individually bagging them in plastic and putting them in your freezer overnight may eliminate dust mites.
  • Anti-allergy bedding ranges, including mattress covers and pillow covers fitted underneath regular bed linen, can help reduce the impact of dust mites. They won’t totally eliminate dust mites but they may help keep them at bay and reduce another bedtime trigger.
  • It’s tempting in the cooler months to crank the heaters up inside our homes. But dry air in a overly warm bedroom may further aggravate sinus congestion, so keep the temperature moderate to low.

Embrace the opportunity Spring cleaning presents to introduce a few practical modifications to your home decor and cleaning routines and clean up, dust down and enjoy the changing seasons this year.

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