Joburg allergy season kicks off around late August, as pollen levels rise. Once tree pollen levels ease up, we are hit with tall grass and weed pollens. Joburg dwellers are especially susceptible to grass pollen allergies, as our grasses are cut low, allowing spores to travel through the air and into our nasal passages. The official allergy season lasts from late August right up to April, affecting both seasonal and perennial allergy sufferers.
Have you found your sinuses flaring up during winter months, too? There are a couple of reasons why this might be happening. Firstly, as a result of climate change, our Joburg winters are warmer and shorter than before. With day time temps in the mid-20° range, tree pollen flourishes months before it should. In addition, winter allergens, such as dander, dust and cold wind, irritate our nasal passages, causing inflammation. Winter colds and flu may also aggravate the sinus cavities resulting in congestion.
While it may seem like there is no respite from allergies, there are effective ways to manage this nose tickling problem. Firstly, you should monitor your symptoms closely to determine the severity of your allergies. Then, consult with your GP or an allergist about the right treatment for your condition. Here are some of the most common symptoms of allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever or sinusitis:
Up to 20% of the population suffer from allergies, with at least 50% being children and adolescents. Hay fever is rarely isolated, commonly presenting with conditions such as asthma and eczema in children and some adults. Food allergies may also present at a later stage.
Luckily, there are a number of treatments available to ease the symptoms of these conditions. These range from nasal decongestants and steroid sprays, antihistamines and even a hay fever ‘shot’. Also known as the ‘Kenalog shot’, this corticosteroid injection is used to treat patients who may no longer respond to antihistamine treatments. Other immunisation injections are also available, which introduce grass pollens to the patient's system in large doses to boost their immune systems.
Antihistamines can cause drowsiness and impaired ability to drive and operate machinery. That’s why many allergy suffers choose to rather dose up on mild painkillers. If your allergies are severely affecting your quality of life, perhaps it’s time to allergy-proof your home environment. Start by switching to dust-mite proof pillowcases and sheets in your bedroom. If you have a sensitivity to pet dander, keep your furry best friends off the furniture or vacuum frequently using a HEPA filter dust guzzler. In summer, try to keep the windows and doors closed to prevent pollen from entering your home. Rather use air conditioning or a HEPA filter air cooler. Also, check out this article by the Mayo Clinic on how to allergy-proof your home.
So, you have been religiously using your antihistamines, nasal decongestants and natural home remedies to fight your allergies. But, you are still all blocked up and miserable? We recommend you pay a visit to the Sandton Allergy Clinic based in Morningside. Headed up by esteemed allergy specialist, Dr Adrian Morris. The Allergy Clinic offers comprehensive allergy testing for a range of conditions. Their most basic test, the skin prick test, can help you determine your exact allergens. The test covers tree and grass pollens, wheat and dairy sensitivity and pet sensitivity. Once you know what your allergen triggers are, you can avoid them. This test is a must for hay fever suffers, so don't put it off any longer.
Details: Summit Square, 15 School Road, Morningside, Sandton, Johannesburg | 021 671 1254 or 011 083 5305 | [email protected]