Fight Hay Fever this spring

By Drum Digital
27 August 2014

This year’s exceptionally wet winter season could spell trouble for hay fever sufferers.

A wet winter means healthy plant roots and grasses, trees and flowers are waiting for warmer and drier days to release their pollen, which could hit very intensely.

 Pollens that usually trigger seasonal allergies come from trees, grasses or weeds, but grass is by far the worst culprit in South Africa.

Grass pollen season is likely to peak in October and taper off in December.

The most common grass species found in SA include winter grass, wild oats, rye grass, quaking grass, bunny tail, klokkies, bermuda grass as well as African species such as kikuyu and buffalo grass.

Experts say it will only take a few sunny, breezy days for pollen to soar which will soon give allergy sufferers a glimpse of what to expect for the remainder of the season.

Besides just keeping up with regular allergy medication, such as antihistamines,  it’s probably wise to avoid exposure:

  • Keep doors and windows closed to avoid pollen grains from coming inside the house
  • Avoid the use of fans and rather opt for air-conditioning, which can markedly cut down on the amount of pollen in a room as well as the car
  • Stay indoors on high pollen days between 10am and 4pm when pollen is usually released – especially when it’s windy
  • Wash clothes after being outside as pollen will stick to it. Showering and washing hair after long exposure is also advisable
  • Don’t hang clothing outside to dry as pollen will collect on them
  • If you enjoy exercising outdoors, choose the one least likely to expose you to allergens e.g. opt for tennis on a cement court rather than golf
  • Wear a mask when working in the garden and mowing the lawn

Hay fever sufferers are encouraged to continue taking their medication even though dispersed rain may dampen symptoms.

People allergic to pollen should take their medication at least two weeks prior to the start of the season which will significantly reduce symptoms such as an itchy, runny or blocked nose, irritated and watery, red eyes and/or a scratchy throat.

For up to date pollen counts, visit www.pollensa.co.zaor for any hay fever related queries, visit www.allergyexpert.co.za.

- Pharma Dynamics

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