How do I manage my nasal allergies?
Allergy symptoms can be overwhelming. When you’re feeling congested and miserable, it can be hard to know where to start with managing your nasal allergies. Here are our tips for getting your allergies under control.
Managing your allergies involves a 3 step process:
- Identify the allergen
- Minimise exposure to the allergen
- Seek treatment
1. Identifying the cause of your allergy symptoms
It might be quite easy for a person to identify the allergen responsible for their symptoms, based on the timing of their symptoms, e.g. if you develop symptoms after petting a cat.
However, when symptoms are subtle or occur continuously, you may need to see a doctor to help determine the specific allergy.
How are allergies diagnosed?
If you suffer from allergies and you’re not sure what’s to blame, your doctor may recommend allergy testing. An allergy test can help you find out which specific allergen is causing your symptoms and form an important part of your treatment plan, which may include lifestyle changes, allergen avoidance and medication.
When should I see an allergy specialist?
Some allergy problems, such as mild hayfever, may not need specialist treatment, as the use of an over‐the‐counter antihistamine medication may be sufficient. More serious allergies can interfere with day to day activities. A specialist can help you to prevent or minimise allergy symptoms and, by doing so, may improve your quality of life.
You should see an allergy specialist if:
- You experience hayfever symptoms for several months of the year.
- Over‐the‐counter medicines don’t control your symptoms.
- Your allergies get in the way of carrying out daily activities.
- Your allergies are causing nasal congestion or difficulty breathing.
- You experience signs of a serious allergy such as skin rashes, difficulty breathing, swelling of the face, lips, mouth, tongue or throat.
What is allergy testing?
Allergy testing is usually performed in cases of suspected hayfever or reactions to certain foods and insect venom. When testing for hayfever, the substances used usually include house dust mites, cat and dog dander (other animals may be included where relevant, e.g. horses), mould spores, and pollen from weeds, grasses and trees. In some cases, occupational allergens may be included if the person comes into regular contact with them during their daily work.
What happens in an allergy test?
The most common forms of allergy testing are skin prick tests and blood tests.
Skin prick test
Skin prick testing is a common allergy test, as it’s quick, convenient and results are usually available within 20 minutes.
Skin prick testing involves exposing the skin to different allergens and checking the area for any sign of an allergic reaction. If an allergen causes a reaction in the skin, you will experience reddening, swelling or an itchy raised bump where the substance was applied.
Blood tests can also be used to test for allergies when skin testing is not suitable, such as for people who are taking medications that may interfere with a skin test.
2. Avoid exposure to the allergen
Once an allergen has been identified, it may be possible to avoid exposure through lifestyle modifications.
How do I minimise exposure to allergy triggers?
Although it may not be possible to avoid the allergens that cause symptoms altogether, there are several things a person can do to minimise the severity and frequency of their symptoms.
A number of helpful tips are listed below for people to reduce their exposure to common allergy triggers, including pollen, dust mites, mould, and animals.
- Check the pollen forecast and try to stay indoors if pollen counts are high.
- Stay indoors whenever you can during spring, on windy days and after thunderstorms.
- Pollen levels in the air tend to be higher during the early morning, so try and adjust your routine where you can.
- Wear sunglasses outdoors and splash your eyes with cold water, often to flush out any pollen.
- Dry your bed linen and clothes indoors when the pollen count is high.
- Close the windows of your house and car and rely on recirculating air conditioning during the pollen season.
- Choose plants in your garden that are pollinated by birds or insects rather than plants that release their pollen in the air.
- Cover mattresses and pillows with dust mite-resistant covers.
- Wash bedding weekly in minimum 60°C water.
- Vacuum regularly with a machine that has a high efficiency particular air filter.
- Clean hardwood floors weekly with a damp cloth/mop/steam mop.
- Dust weekly with a damp or anti-static cloth.
- Remove visible mould with appropriate cleaners.
- Make sure homes are well ventilated and install an exhaust fan if necessary.
- Repair any plumbing leaks.
- Remove indoor pot plants (which promote mould growth).
- Avoid organic mulches and compost heaps.
- Keep pets outside if possible, and definitely out of the bedrooms.
- Clean the floors, walls and carpet in rooms where animals have been present. It may take months before allergen levels are reduced.
3. Allergy treatment options
If your hayfever symptoms are mild to moderate, an antihistamine medication such as Telfast® may be helpful. Antihistamines are a treatment for itchy eyes/nose, sneezing and runny nose. If symptoms persist seek advice from your healthcare provider for further treatment options.
Always read the label and follow the directions for use.
Learn about which Telfast product may be appropriate for you.SEE THE PRODUCTS HERE
MAT-AU-2102138. Nov 2021.