Ask George - Hayfever

Hayfever season is upon us again. With changes in weather it's important to stay ahead of the game and choose the best options for you. Many of us head straight for this antihistamine tablets, but is this really your best treatment? Let's have a quick look at the different products available to better manage your hayfever symptoms, as tablets may not be the most effective way. Using a regular nasal wash can increase your medications effectiveness by up to 40%. 

 

Nasal Sprays (ie. Rhinocort, Beconase, Nasonex, Azep)  

Steroid nasal spray are in fact more effective and will reduce adverse effects!!  Although maximum effect is achieved after several days of regular use they will "kick in" after 3 to 7 hours and are still effective if used on an as needed basis.  These products will also help with the eye symptoms of hayfever. 

There are of course many other forms of nasal sprays, which will kick in a lot faster, but either don't help with all the symptoms, or don't last as long as the steroid based nasal sprays.

 

Eye Drops (ie. Azep, Naphcon A)  

Eye drops are often forgotten about, especially when eye symptoms are particularly troublesome. They can be used on their own where there are solely eye symptoms or in combination with other hayfever products where there are multiple symptoms. Older style eye drops products that combine antihistamines with decongestants  have fallen out of favour due to the risk of side effects as well as the newer antihistamines being more effective.

 

Oral Antihistamines (ie. Claratyne, Telfast, Zyrtec, Polaramine) 

There are many of these products. All oral antihistamines (whether sedating or non-sedating) are considered equally effective, but there is some evidence that your preferred brand may become ineffective, so changing brands regularly is recommended. It is important to realise that 30% of hayfever sufferers will not gain adequate relief using an oral antihistamine by itself. This means it is crucial to remember that there are stronger treatment options available should you not gain adequate relief.

 

Natural Supplements

Ethical Nutrients Sinus and Hayfever Relief or Ethical Nutrients Allergy Control for example can help treat and prevent the symptoms of hayfever. Horseradish, Garlic, Eyebright and Olive Leaf (In Sinus and Hayfever relief) are some of the more effective treatments. These products can be used either during hayfever season, or earlier in the year to help minimise or even reduce the symptoms of hayfever.

Formulations will generally include the following -

Olive Leaf - antimicrobial, antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal.

Horseradish - nasal decongestant, useful for catarrh, acute and chronic sinusitis, inflammation of the respiratory tract, cough and bronchitis.

Eyebright - this herb is traditionally used in Western herbal medicine for infection, inflammation or allergy of the eye, including conjunctivitis, itchy, and irritated eyes. Eyebright is also used for excessive upper respiratory secretions and catarrh, including the common cold and hay fever, acute and chronic sinusitis, middle ear problems, and sore throat.

 

Nasal Washes 

There is mounting new evidence that cleansing the nasal passages twice daily with isotonic saline reduces allergy and asthma symptoms and enhances the effect of steroid nasal sprays. Ideally these should be used 15 minutes prior to using the steroid spray and improves the benefit by up to 40%.

 

With all of this in mind, feel free to have a chat with any of our pharmacists to ensure you enjoy the coming months.  

  

Written by George Salib

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