Our surroundings carry airborne substances—such as pollen or spores—which can trigger allergic reactions.
Sneezing is not always the symptom of a cold. Sometimes, it is an allergic reaction to something in the air. Common causes of environment or inhalant allergies are pollen (trees & grasses), moulds, dust mites and cockroaches.
Allergic Rhinitis (Hay Fever), is the most common symptom of environmental allergy affecting one in five Australians at some time in their life. The prevalence of hay fever in Australia has almost doubled in the past 15 years.
Not restricted to outdoors, symptoms of environmental allergy can continue all year round as they commonly relate to indoor allergens, such as house dust mites, pets and indoor moulds.
Some common reactions include:
- allergic rhinitis (hay fever)
- coughing and postnasal drip
- itchy eyes, nose, and throat
- allergic shiners (dark circles under the eyes caused by increased blood flow near the sinuses)
- the “allergic salute” (in a child, persistent upward rubbing of the nose that causes a crease mark on the nose)
- watery eyes
- conjunctivitis (an inflammation of the membrane that lines the eyelids, causing red-rimmed, swollen eyes, and crusting of the eyelids).
Once the allergen has been correctly identified, symptoms can be effectively managed and treated in a number of ways. Depending on the allergen, severity and frequency, treatment options include:
- managing/avoiding allergic triggers
- saline nasal sprays
- immunotherapy or desensitisation
- hot washing of bedding
- non-allergenic bedding covers