Spring is often a season associated with a range of allergy issues. Picture Shutterstock
Spring is often a season associated with a range of allergy issues. Picture Shutterstock

For many, spring is not the enjoyable season most people believe it to be.

Hay fever, asthma, breathing difficulties, and skin complaints are just a few issues people can suffer.

Pharmacist Marcus Heiner has 16 years of experience helping those who suffer deal with their symptoms and said that prevention is always the best option.

"Obviously, it is not always possible to avoid the things that may be causing your health issues, but it is important to find out the underlying causes and take preventative action," he said.

"Visiting your doctor or a pharmacist is a good place to start, but you can also take an allergy test and visit an allergy specialist.

"Triggers such as grass or pollen can be difficult to avoid, but you would take antihistamines to help deal with those, whereas triggers like animals are much easier to simply stay away from."

Marcus said there were a number of reasons people tended to suffer from allergies and breathing difficulties across the spring season.

"While the warmer temperatures are nice, the weather also brings strong winds and storms," he said.

"This coupled with different grasses, flowering plants, and high pollen counts, results in a difficult period for those who suffer from allergies.

"Depending on your individual issues, there are a range of options available to you."

Marcus said people who suffer from seasonal allergies should never feel like they have tried every solution. "There is always something new you can try, even if you feel like you've used all treatments," he said.

"Simple things like eye drops and nasal sprays can really make a difference, as can antihistamines, which you can actually take more than once a day and help with a range of symptoms.

"If things get severe, there are prescribed medications which have really effective treatments and assist with allergy treatment and allergy reduction, or you can even try immunotherapy, which is a treatment designed to make a person more tolerant to substances that trigger their reactions."

Outside of medication, there are things you can do around the home, such as cleaning air conditioning filters, keeping windows closed when it is windy, doing a deep clean to remove dust and mould, keeping animals outside, and removing house and garden plants that may be triggering symptoms.

Asthma, of course, can be a big concern during spring, and Marcus said that people should always be prepared for breathing problems.

"We are looking at a pretty bad asthma season ahead, and while having a reliever is a good idea if you find that it works for you, it might be worth visiting a doctor to see if you should be on a preventative as well," he said.

"They make a massive difference to your breathing and newer 'dual purpose relievers' save having to carry multiple puffers.

"As always, though, anyone concerned about their health or allergies should visit their local doctor."

New vaccine set to reduce infections

A new vaccine being developed by researchers at the University of Adelaide (UOA) could help ward off painful ear infections for children.

Dr Erin Brazel from the University of Adelaide's Research Centre for Infectious Diseases said an effective vaccine would be incredibly beneficial given more than 80 per cent of children experience a middle ear infection by the time they are three years old.

"Ear infections are commonly caused by bacteria known as non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae, and these infections can have devastating outcomes, such as hearing loss in children," she said. "An effective vaccine would drastically reduce cases of ear infections among children."

The project has recently received funding through the National Industry PhD program, which will support UOA PhD student Carla Gallasch as she continues to work on the development of a new vaccine.

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