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Healthy Painting 101Surviving the Sneezin' Season

Traditionally considered a mild complaint, it is now widely recognised that hayfever can have a significant impact on quality of life, so it pays to go into 'the sneezin' season' armed with expert knowledge.

HAYFEVER is a term used for allergic rhinoconjunctivitis occurring in spring and summer. As the name suggests, it is principally caused by grasses, although tree pollen can contribute a little, for a few weeks in late August only. Many people go to a pharmacy when they have symptoms and take whatever is recommended on an 'as required basis'. This is fine, if you only have occasional or mild symptoms, but if you suffer from moderate or quite frequent symptoms, this is definitely a sub-standard approach to treatment.

Immunologist and Allergy Specialist Dr Andrew Baker shares his top five tips for managing hayfever.

TOP TIPS FOR HAYFEVER

1 Consider an ongoing treatment plan. In other words, use some treatment at the start of every day from September to February, in a proactive preventative approach. This is much more effective than trying to rescue the situation once you're plagued by symptoms.

2 The most important cornerstone of an ongoing treatment plan is the regular use of a steroid nasal spray. Brands such as flixonase are used as a local treatment, to help both the nose and the eyes, with minimal absorption (1%) into the rest of the body.

Quality of life can be transformed if a steroid nasal spray is used daily during spring and summer. Steroid sprays are slow to start working so don't expect to feel better straight away. Use it daily from September to February, and then decide at the end of the season whether it helped or not.

3 Seek evidence-based advice from a specialist health professional, such as an immunologist. The number of people who are given substandard advice is unfortunately very high. Frequently, the details of how treatment is administered make all the difference to getting your quality of life back.

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Issue: Spring 2016