Be asthma alert this hay fever season

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

South Australians are being reminded of the serious dangers of asthma, which can be exacerbated during peak hay fever season.

SA Health’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Nicola Spurrier said high pollen counts in spring leads to exacerbated asthma symptoms and subsequent high rates of asthma-related hospitalisations in South Australia.

“Asthma affects 2.3 million Australians, and 80 per cent of people with asthma also have hay fever,” Dr Spurrier said.

“In South Australia we have the highest rates of asthma-related hospitalisations and mortality per capita in the nation and during spring, the allergies that cause hay fever can make asthma even more difficult to manage.

“People with asthma who also have hay fever are more likely to end up in hospital or emergency departments and have more absences from work or school, so it is important that they have effective treatment for their hay fever to assist their asthma control.”

This year, SA Health has partnered with Asthma Australia to warn people with asthma and allergies of the dangers of days of increased pollen count.

Clara Tait, Asthma Management Program Co-ordinator from the Asthma Foundation SA said hay fever, with its associated itching, sneezing, runny nose or eyes or blocked nose occurs during the pollen season.

“This can be a miserable time for many South Australians, but people with asthma and hayfever need not be excluded from experiencing the joys of spring,” Ms Tait said.

“By adopting a ‘united airways’ approach to hayfever and asthma management much can be done to keep symptoms at bay and enjoy life.

“There are a few simple tips that can make all the difference, such as ensuring you have an up-to-date asthma action plan and a hayfever plan to keep one step ahead of your symptoms.

“It’s also important to treat your hay fever, take your preventer regularly as prescribed and check your device technique to get the most out of your medication as this can make all the difference.

“Always carry your blue puffer with you and treat symptoms as they arise.”

During days of high pollen count, Dr Spurrier said the effective treatment of hay fever, in addition to asthma medications, can improve asthma control.

“When the pollen level is high, the lining of the nose, back of the throat and mouth can become inflamed and swollen due to exposure to allergens, causing hay fever symptoms like itching, sneezing, runny nose and eyes or a blocked nose,” Dr Spurrier said.

“Everyone with asthma needs to have an up-to-date asthma action plan, which for some people may include regular preventer medication. For those who have hay fever, treatment of those symptoms can assist in asthma control.

“Now is a good time for people with asthma to see their doctor to ensure their asthma is well controlled, and they are on the right medications to manage their conditions.”

For more information, view the Asthma and hay fever section or call the free Asthma Australia Helpline on 1800 ASTHMA (1800 278 462).

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