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Asthma and Hay-fever

“If you sneeze and wheeze – think of asthma, please”

Are you ready for summer?

Are you allergic to pollen?

Do you suffer from hay-fever or asthma?


Allergic rhinitis, commonly referred to as hay fever, is the most common allergic disorder in Australia and New Zealand. It is often underdiagnosed, undertreated and often sub-optimally self-treated. Allergic rhinitis can have a significant impact on sleep, concentration, learning and daily function, and affect childhood behaviour and development.

Patients often consider allergic rhinitis to be a nuisance, with no effective treatment. It can, however, be effectively managed. The treatment of allergic rhinitis is important for the effective management of asthma.

The true cause of symptoms of hay fever are wind pollinated trees, grasses and weeds.


  • Sneezing, itchy nose, sniffing, upward rubbing of the nose
  • Clear rhinorrhoea
  • Nasal obstruction/congestion (e.g. nasal speech, mouth breathing, snoring)
  • Itchy throat, frequent need to clear the throat
  • Watery, itchy eyes (allergic conjunctivitis) which may occur in conjunction with allergic rhinitis or in isolation.

Symptoms may be confused with recurrent upper respiratory tract infection. 

  • 50-80% of patients with asthma have allergic rhinitis
  • 20-30% of patients with allergic rhinitis have asthma

The treatment of nasal symptoms may delay symptoms of asthma


  • Asthma is an airways disease where airways become supersensitive to different triggers. The main characteristic of asthma are flare ups. They can be from =-
  • cough,
  • wheezing,
  • tightness in the chest,
  • shortness of breath,
  • rapid breathing.

The main mechanism in developing asthma is inflammation.

Asthma, food allergy and severe allergic reactions frequently come together.

  • 50-80% of patients with asthma have allergic rhinitis
  • 20-30% of patients with allergic rhinitis have asthma

If you suffer from allergic rhinitis (hay-fever) you are four time more likely to develop asthma than if you don’t have it.

If you have asthma do you have an asthma action plan? Is it current?

There have been some changes in management of asthma in recent years. There is a significant evidence that inhaled corticosteroids (preventors) have major role in managing asthma. They should be introduced early which is a bit different from previous accent on salbutamol (Ventolin, asmol)

Pollen season is ongoing epidemiologic risk for thunderstorm asthma. There is some evidence that ryegrass pollen is the most common allergen involved. People that came to Melbourne in recent years are increasingly developing allergies and asthma. Rain can increase pollen particles size and potential to trigger allergic reaction. Melbourne pollen forecast is available and it can be followed this season.

As allergies have significant role in developing asthma it is important to recognise it’s triggers, try to avoid them and have a plan of management if symptoms get worse.

Management of allergies is very important. Many patients who had serios allergic reactions in the past have been prescribed epi-pen. Do you need one? If you do- make sure it did not expire. Do you know how to use it


Do you suffer from hay-fever?

Have you had any allergies?

Do you suffer from asthma?

Are you ready for another thunderstorm asthma?

Did you have lung function tests and asthma action plan?

Do you suffer from severe allergy?

Do you have you in date epi-pen?


Visit your doctor to discuss.



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