Hayfever

Reporter: John Darcy

Pollen count levels are predicted to hit a record high this spring, as millions of hayfever sufferers stock up on tissues, pills and nasal sprays.

According to Professor Connie Katelaris from New South Wales Health it's difficult to completely avoid allergens.

However Professor Katelaris says there are practical measure that can be taken to lessen the impact of the symptoms

Some simple tips for hayfever sufferers on how to reduce symptoms:

1. If you're a gardener, plant a low-allergy garden close to your home

2. Pillowslips can gather pollen all day, so dry them indoors

3. Pets' coats can also collect pollen, so where possible keep them indoors

4. Shower before you go to bed to wash the pollen from your hair

5. If you're heading out, make sure you wear your sunglasses to protect your eyes

Professor Katelaris says there is a new pain-free form of immunotherapy for chronic sufferers that could help relieve symptoms.

"Immunotherapy works by changing a person's immune response, it changes an allergic response to a more pro-active response. So it's like a vaccination," Professor Katelaris said.

"New forms of therapy are perhaps just around the corner as we improve the forms of immunotherapy, making it more effective without needing to be on it for as long a period of time."

Dr John D'Arcy says it's best for sufferers to start on non-sedating antihistamines, as they tone down the immune response.

"If antihistamines don't work, try a prescription-only steroid spray. It can actually stop the immune reaction starting in the first place," Dr D'Arcy said.

"Saline is also a terrific treatment. A saline nasal spray is cheap and effective, with absolutely no side effects."