The Hay Fever Hub
Welcome to Qoctor’s online doctor service which can provide assessment, advice and treatment for hay fever.
We will ask you some questions about your health, just as a doctor would in clinic. In most cases a video consultation is not required.
Once you’ve been assessed, treatment may be recommended- you can then opt to have a paper prescription sent to your home or local pharmacy, or medication delivered to an address of your choice, from one of our partner pharmacies.
About Hay Fever
Hay fever is also known as allergic rhinitis.
It is most commonly caused by an allergy to pollen released by grasses, trees and flowers.
Some people get symptoms all year round from house dust-mites, moulds or dusts/chemicals.
The immune system over-reacts to these air-borne particles, leading to runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes and other symptoms.
Symptoms vary from person to person and include:
- a runny or blocked nose
- itchy watery eyes
- itchy throat
- asthma-like symptoms, like coughing and wheezing
FAQs – hay fever symptoms & hay fever medication
Hay fever (also known as seasonal allergic rhinitis) is caused by an allergy to pollen. Pollen particles are released into the air by flowers, grasses and trees, particularly in Spring and Summer- causing runny nose, sneezing and itchiness of the throat, eyes and ears. It can be severe in some cases, with bouts of repeated sneezing, a constantly streaming nose and inflamed eyes. On a bad day, it can be almost impossible to work, study or socialise. Some people get hay fever symptoms all year round, from dust, moulds or animal hair/dander.
- Usually not. In nearly all cases, diagnosis is obvious based on the typical hay fever symptoms, and the fact that these symptoms get better when the trigger is avoided and/or a trial of hay fever medication works.
- Whilst there are skin prick tests and blood tests available, they are not often performed, as they often show false positives, which can be misleading.
- However, if your hay fever symptoms are severe, sometimes your GP or respiratory specialist may feel it’s worth getting such tests done.
- There is no single most effective type of hay fever medication – it varies from person to person.
- Some people find a once daily antihistamine tablet controls symptoms very well.
- However, quite often, drowsiness can be a problem with antihistamines, even the supposedly “non-drowsy” ones.
- Other types of hay fever medication such as steroid nasal sprays can be very helpful for an itchy and runny nose- these take a few weeks of regular use to build up their effect, so it’s important to persist.
- Combination nasal sprays may contain a fast-acting antihistamine and a slower-acting steroid. Even though they may be more pricey than other nasal sprays, the dual action makes it a very popular choice among patients.
- Antihistamine eye drops can effectively target the irritated itchy eyes of hay fever
At peak times it can be hard to avoid pollen, but here are a few sensible tips:
- If possible, try to stay indoors until after midday, particularly when the pollen count is high and on windy days
- Stay indoors during and just after thunderstorms, particularly if pollen counts are high. Information about pollen counts is available at pollenforecast.com.au
- If possible, get someone else to mow your lawn (if you must do it, wear a mask and take an antihistamine beforehand) and stay inside if it’s being mown.
- Keep windows closed both at home and in the car (use recirculating air conditioning in your car if you have it)
- Wear sunglasses when outdoors
- If landscaping your garden select plants that are less likely to trigger hayfever, and make sure none of the more troublesome types are growing near your bedroom window!
- Shower when you get home/after being outdoors
It’s not certain why hay fever happens. But it does seem that there’s a lower risk in people who are exposed to animals early in life, people who grow up on a farm, or those who have lots of brothers and sisters!
- For most people it’s about managing symptoms of hayfever (allergic rhinitis) and avoiding triggers.
- If you’ve got severe allergic rhinitis, it is possible to get a course of immunotherapy via an allergy specialist.
- Immunotherapy involves getting regular injections which, over 3-5 years, may result in desensitisation to the trigger- i.e. a cure, though it does not work for everyone.
Steroid injections such as Kenalog used to be given for hayfever. Doctors no longer recommend this option because of the significant side effects of steroid use, and the fact that there are now many other effective, safer hay fever medications available.
Health Library- Hay Fever & hay fever medication
Hay fever (also known as seasonal allergic rhinitis) is caused by an allergy to pollen. Pollen particles are released into the air by flowers, grasses and trees, particularly in Spring and Summer- causing runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes and throat. Qoctor can provide prescriptions for a wide range of hay fever medication: steroid nasal sprays such as Avamys and Omnaris, combination nasal sprays like Dymista, eye drops and the oral medication Montelukast (Singulair).
People with hay fever (allergic rhinitis) may also be at risk for thunderstorm asthma- if you live in Victoria you can now get thunderstorm asthma warnings via an app. And if you want to know more about getting an asthma action plan just in case, click here.
Hayfever- how to self treat it Streaming nose, itchy watery eyes, irritated throat and a generally muzzy head- hay fever can be extremely uncomfortable. If it’s severe, it can be very hard to function- whether that’s working, socialising, or enjoying an afternoon in the sun. Many people with mild hay fever can manage it themselves, with products from the pharmacy. But others struggle with symptoms and don’t really know what to do next. The good news is, there are often options people have not yet tried- and when they finally come to the doctor with their out-of-control hay fever, they’re surprised to hear about treatments they were previously unaware of. Get online prescriptions for hay fever Antihistamines- sometimes helpful, sometimes not There are lots of antihistamine tablets on the market- commonly used brands in Australia are Zyrtec, Claratyne, Telfast and Aerius or [...]
Do I have Asthma? How is it diagnosed? What is asthma? The airways (tubes) that take air from your throat to your lungs are surrounded by tiny muscles. These muscles are involuntary - you have no control over them. When they contract (squeeze), the airways become narrow and air can’t pass through them as easily. Certain triggers, such as pollen or dust, can cause these muscles to contract, or they can contract spontaneously for no obvious reason. What are the symptoms of asthma? The narrowed airways result in breathlessness, wheeze, cough and chest tightness. If untreated and severe it can lead to death. Learn more about online prescriptions for asthma Who gets asthma? Asthma can affect up to 1 in 5 people. It can run in families - ie. it is linked to genetics. It’s associated with other conditions such as eczema [...]
Thunderstorm Asthma- learning from the past & preparing for next time What Happened in Melbourne back in November 2016? 9 people lost their lives, hundreds of people were hospitalised and thousands of people were affected by breathing problems due to thunderstorm asthma. Medical services were overwhelmed by an unexpected surge in sudden-onset attacks of severe wheezing and coughing, often in people who were undiagnosed as asthmatic. Click here to learn more about online prescriptions What Caused it? There was more grass pollen than usual. This was swept up into the air by gusts of wind and became saturated with water up in the clouds. As the pollen grains swelled with water they burst into tiny fragments which could then be breathed far deeper into your lungs. The clouds dispersed, emptying these fragments into the air where cool winds blew them like a mist down [...]
Hayfever- 5 treatment tips for Springtime What causes hayfever? Hayfever (also known as seasonal allergic rhinitis) is caused by an allergy to pollen. Pollen particles are released into the air by flowers, grasses and trees, particularly in Spring and Summer- causing runny nose, sneezing and itchiness of the throat, eyes and ears. It can be severe in some cases, with bouts of repeated sneezing, a constantly streaming nose and inflamed eyes. On a bad day, it can be almost impossible to work, study or socialise. Learn more about our online doctor services Some people get these symptoms all year round from other triggers, such as dust mites, moulds, chemicals, or exposure to dogs, cats or other animals- this is called perennial allergic rhinitis. There are many treatment options. Some can be bought over the counter from a chemist, others require a prescription from a doctor-and [...]