Seasonal or perennial hay fever?

Hay fever is the most common allergic disorder in Australia and New Zealand. Many of us regard it as a nuisance rather than a treatable condition. And it can often be confused with the onset of a cold as the symptoms are so similar e.g. runny or blocked nose, sneezing and sinus congestion.

Seasonal otherwise known as intermittent hay fever, as the term suggests, occurs at particular times of the year. Spring, widely known by those who experience hay fever as “hay fever season”, as well as summer are periods of increased pollens (grass, tree and weed pollens). Particularly during Spring, there is also an increase in the circulation of dust with more air movement from increasingly windy weather.

Persistent or perennial, hay fever occurs throughout the year. The cause of persistent hay fever is commonly house dust mites and pet dander, but also mould.

If you understand and know the difference between the two, you may plan and manage your symptoms more effectively. For example if your hay fever is seasonal, it is a good idea to use your hay fever medication before the pollen season starts (not just when you experience hay fever or reactive symptoms) and medication should be used regularly i.e. every day throughout the season. If however, your allergy symptoms persist throughout the year, treatment may be recommended on a daily basis, throughout the year.

A qualified diagnosis matters.

A recent study by ENT Technologies of Australians showed that over a third (36%) of people who used hay fever medications, had never been diagnosed by a qualified healthcare professional, indicating a potential lack of awareness of the most appropriate way to manage their condition.

However, the good news is that a consultation with a health care professional could make a big difference. Talking to your doctor or pharmacist may help determine whether you even have hay fever in the first place, whether your symptoms are intermittent or persistent, the severity of your symptoms and how your allergies may be managed with more effective treatments.

References: