It’s the first day of spring, and while many people rejoice at the longer days, extra hours of sunshine, and the march towards the heat of summer, others are preparing to stock up on antihistamines. Yes, while the changing of the seasons undoubtedly brings plenty of positives, for hayfever sufferers, it can be a bit of a nightmare.

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What causes seasonal allergies?

The biggest spring allergy trigger? Pollen. All trees, grasses, weeds and flowers release miniscule grains of pollen into the air in order to fertilise plants. Most people can breathe in these grains with no problem, but for other people they trigger an allergic reaction. In these cases, the body thinks that the pollen is a toxin. Histamines are then released into the blood to fight the poison, triggering all of the common symptoms listed below.

What are the symptoms of hayfever and allergies?

Some people will experience all of the symptoms below, while other people will only suffer from one or two.

Common symptoms of seasonal allergies include:
• severe headaches
• clogged sinuses
• a runny nose
• a hacking cough
• loss of voice
• red, swollen eyes (allergic conjunctivitis)
• constant sneezing

How can you treat or prevent seasonal allergies?

While you can take antihistamines or steroids to deal with the symptoms, there is no real way to fully treat seasonal allergies once they have started. That said, there are a few ways that you can try to prevent them in the first place.

Here are a few simple ways that you can prevent seasonal allergies:

• Try a pair of wraparound sunglasses when you head outside – they can stop pollen from getting in your eyes.
• While it may not always be possible, try staying indoors when the pollen count is particularly high (over 50 grains per cubic metre of air).
• As soon as you get home, have a shower and change your clothes to remove all of the pollen that is clinging to your body.
• Smear a tiny amount of petroleum jelly to your nostrils in order to prevent pollen from sneaking past.

While spring time is the most common time for people to suffer from hayfever, different pollens are released throughout the year. Some people are more sensitive to pollens released in the winter, summer or autumn. As it is the first day of autumn in Australia, this will be of interest to many people who suffer from autumnal hay fever.

Good luck!

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