Allergic rhinitis (Hay fever)


Suffering from runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes and scratchy throat????

You might be suffering from hay fever!!!!

Allergic rhinitis aka hay fever is most commonly seen during the spring and summer season. Hay fever is not only seasonal, for some persons it can be perennial i.e. it lasts all the year round. It affects around 1 in 5 people (adults and children) in Australia and New Zealand.


Allergic reaction of the body to allergens like pollen, dust mites, inhaled dust, grasses, animal dander, mould  which trigger chain reaction in immune system releasing chemical substances including histamine and resulting in the symptoms of hay fever.

Genetic preponderance also plays a major role. The risk of developing allergic rhinitis increases if there is a strong family history of asthma, hay fever, eczema.


  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Itchy, watery and red eyes
  • Itchy throat
  • Dry cough


There are different management options for hay fever depending upon the severity.

The first line of treatment is antihistamine tablets and intranasal steroid spray.

Other treatment modalities are:

  • Anti-histamine nasal sprays
  • Chromones
  • Decongestant nasal drops and sprays
  • Steroids
  • Leukotriene receptor antagonist
  • Immunotherapy (desensitization)

Seek advice from your doctor about medications or treatment which will help to alleviate your symptoms.


  • Tiredness during day
  • Headaches and poor concentration
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Recurrent ear and sinus infections


Minimising allergen exposure may reduce the symptoms. The following methods can help to reduce the exposure to the allergens.

  • Avoiding the outdoors during the times of high pollen count
  • Wearing sunglasses when outdoors
  • HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters may be beneficial.
  • Using dust mite proof mattresses and bed cover
  • Washing bedding at hot cycle of around 50 degrees centigrade
  • Wiping floors with damp clothes
  • Vacuuming carpets regularly
  • Grooming and bathing pets regularly
  • Getting rid of any mould in the house
  • Avoiding strong sprays and chemicals
  • Healthy well balanced diet and exercise


Allergic rhinitis can be managed with different treatment options available and by minimising exposure to the allergens.  Please consult your doctor if you suffer from persistent allergic rhinitis and it affects your day to day functions.



  • Pubmed
  • Australian Family Physician
  • Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy

Author: Dr Madhur Suri

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